HAYDEN WINS U.S. GP WITH MICHELIN Edwards makes it an American one-two at Laguna, Rossi completes the podium American hero Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda Team RC211V-Michelin) won his maiden MotoGP victory at Laguna Seca today, sending the 57,000...
HAYDEN WINS U.S. GP WITH MICHELIN
Edwards makes it an American one-two at Laguna, Rossi completes the podium
American hero Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda Team RC211V-Michelin) won his maiden MotoGP victory at Laguna Seca today, sending the 57,000 fans wild with excitement. And the 23-year-old Kentucky rider did it in style, leading from start to finish and resisting serious pressure from team- mates Colin Edwards (Gauloises Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) and Valentino Rossi (Gauloises Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) who finished second and third. Michelin riders filled the first seven finishing positions today and currently occupy the top seven places in the 2005 MotoGP World Championship.
"That was a very good weekend for us and for Nicky too,"said Nicolas Goubert, Michelin's chief of motorcycle competition. "He really deserved to win because he was fastest all weekend, right from Friday morning. We knew from our experience in World Superbike here that this isn't a particularly demanding track for tyres but it's quite difficult to find a good compromise between grip performance and consistency. Nicky and Valentino chose the same rear, while Colin, Max Biaggi (Repsol Honda Team RC211V-Michelin) and Sete Gibernau (Telefonica Movistar Honda RC211V-Michelin) went for something a bit softer, Sete being the fastest guy at the very end of the race."
Hayden dominated all weekend, taking his first pole position yesterday afternoon and leading the entire 32 laps. But it was anything but a boring race. World Champion Rossi chased hard in the early stages before Edwards took up the challenge, taking over second place at half-distance then settling into a tense duel with his compatriot. The pair traded tenths back and forth, Hayden's 2.6 second mid-race lead shrinking to 1.9 seconds with six laps to go. But the 2002 US Superbike champ kept his cool to cross the line 1.9 seconds ahead.
"This is the first time I've won anything since 2002, except for a dating game," joked Hayden, who recently topped a dating game for America's most eligible bachelors on NBC's The Today show. "It's a dream come true. Everything worked well today and when the gap got smaller I just rode my heart out. Every dog has his day and everything just clicked for me here."
Edwards was happy enough with his best result of the year so far, especially since he got a bad start from row two, then lost more time when he made contact with another rider.
"I saw Nicky and Valentino getting away and thought, 'man, this is going to be tough'," said the Texan who came under pressure from Rossi on the final lap. "I looked back and saw him, I thought he was way back, so it turned into a last-lap dash for cash! Congratulations to Nicky, he was on it all weekend."
Rossi, riding his first race at this notoriously tricky racetrack, seemed content with third, even though this was his worst result of the year so far.
"We finish on the podium at every race this year, so we do a good job," said the Italian who scored six wins and one second-place finish at the first seven races. "I made some mistakes with the setting in practice, so the bike wasn't 100 per cent. But I was able to follow Nicky and Colin and learn about Laguna. I didn't attack Colin on the last lap because it wouldn't have been good to see two yellow M1s in the dirt!"
Biaggi crossed the finish line less than two seconds down on Rossi after a long and exciting duel with Gibernau. They were well ahead of the four-man group fighting for sixth place, a contest won by back-on-form Troy Bayliss (Honda Camel Pons RC211V-Michelin) who edged out Makoto Tamada (Konica Minolta Honda RC211V-Michelin) by a tenth.