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.

Source: MotoGP

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  • LOL, Hayden, you make me laugh. How the hell did you win 2 years ago?!

  • Bob Minor

    Like any other American I was full of hope for Nicky when he first migrated over to Moto GP these many years ago. I was willing to give him some time to acclimate to the totally foreign tracks and the alien cultures that he would have to contend with so I wasn’t expecting immediate results by any stretch. Remember, he was given a factory ride on what was then the all conquering Hondas so he wasn’t destined to be a backmarker because of his machinery.

    What has followed over the years has been less than a steller performance on his part. Yes, he was able to squeak out one championship year (that’s better then most riders ever achieve I grant you) while Valentino was sorting out the new Yamaha. Keep in mind however that he just barely backed into the Championship in what has to be described as a weird year in Moto GP and came close to being beaten by his teammate Dani Pedrosa. Since then Nicky has suffered through poor season after poor season to the point where Colin Edwards on a second tier team is well ahead of him in the standings and in general has out performed him for the past few years.

    Moto GP has simply gotten too expensive for a factory to support a rider who can’t produce better results the Nicky has been giving both Honda and now Ducati and I fully expect that unless he somehow re-ignites his competitive juices and starts getting that Ducati up there with Stoner and the other front runners it won’t make any difference how “nice” a young man he is come new contract time.

    Sorry Nicky but your time may be passing.

  • Nicky will always be the 2006 World Champion and that is a significant achievement that puts him into an elite group. However he has never been a racer’s racer. Despite full factory machinery for his entire MotoGP career which let’s not forget dates from 2003 he has only ever won 3 races in 9 years. He was unimpressive on the 800cc factory Honda for 2 years and now is not surprising me at all by being uncompetitive on the Ducati. I guess I thought he would be finishing 7th and 8th rather than struggling to break into the top 10.
    The reality is that over recent years, faster riders with a more appropriate (ie 250) racing background for the new 800’s like Stoner, Pedrosa, Lorenzo (who let’s face it has a more impressive pedigree than Rossi at the same point in their careers) are taking their place at the head of the field and in any given weekend a rejuvenated and still fast Capirossi keeps them honest along with rising star Dovizioso. The you have steady Edwards who qualifies well, starts slow but grinds his way to 6-8th depending on the track. If not for that one brilliant season in 2006 people would see Hayden, like Edwards as an accomplished Superbike rider who didn’t quite make it in MotoGP. The truth of course is that he both did and didn’t make it. 2006 was one solitary year, Nicky hasn’t before or since had a year like it.