While its hard to top the finish we saw at Catalunya this weekend, we’re afraid the 1-2 Fiat Yamaha podium may have overshadowed some other highlights from the Catalan event. Namely, we’re talking about Nicky Hayden’s best finish in MotoGP this season: 10th place. Taking into account Nicky’s early season injury from Qatar, and aggravating crash at Motegi, we understand if the American isn’t at a full 100% physically. After all, neither is Dani Pedrosa who had to dope up for this weekend’s race, and was only able to finish a modest 6th in Catalunya.
Everyone has an off day right? But maybe Hayden should take a page out of Colin Edwards’ book, and just tell it to us how it is. Speaking after the Catalan GP, Hayden was quoted as saying:
“I was hoping for a little more than this but realistically at the moment it was the best I could manage. I started from near the back but kept passing people and made progress throughout the race. I got close to Kallio and tried my best to pass him but made a couple of mistakes and he beat me. All in all it’s not a spectacular result but it is definitely a step forward. I’ve been close to the front guys all weekend, we’ve worked well and we’ve learnt a lot about the bike. I’m already looking forward to getting back on the bike for the test tomorrow and continuing to work down this path, which we think is the right one.”
What you just read, is politely a load of crap. Hayden qualified 13th out of a grid of 19 riders, Elais only finished 16 laps of the Catalan GP, while Takahashi failed to even finish lap 1. We’re these the riders Hayden was able to pass during the race? Doing some quick math adds only one more rider to the list of people Hayden whizzed by.
Looking at the rest of Hayden’s statement there is some truth to what he said about being in touch with the top-riders during the week. Free Practice 1, saw Nicky in 6th place, right behind A&R whipping boy Randy De Puniet, but Hayden’s results are a slippery slope from FP2 on.
Free Practice 2 sees the Ducatisti fall to 10th fastest on the grid, and almost doubling his gap to session leader Jorge Lorenzo. Falling further, Hayden qualified 13th as we stated earlier, and lapped 14th quickest in the early morning warm-up lap.
If it was any other rider, we probably wouldn’t even mention it, but we feel Hayden has to be held to a higher standard that some like say…Sete Gibernau. A former MotoGP Championship winner, and as a factory supported rider, there are no excuses for finishing in the back of the pack, barely able to squeak by on a satellite rider with the “same” bike.
Looking at the Championship standings, Hayden is 15th overall. If you count Suzuki in the factory team list, Hayden sits 23 points back from the next factory rider, Chris Vermeulen. With the rumor mill just starting to heat up over who will be on what MotoGP team for next year, we can’t help but predict a few rumblings will involve the young man from Kentucky, and if results continue the way the are, we might be inclined to believe some of that paddock gossip.
Nicky Hayden was the second slowest rider around Monday’s test at the Circuit de Catalunya.