Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hayden ready for home GP11.1 race debut

Nicky Hayden, America's most recent MotoGP world champion, will start his first race with the Ducati GP11.1 in front of his home fans at Indianapolis this weekend.

The 2006 title winner, who completed his first laps on the modified motorcycle at July's Laguna Seca race, chose to continue with the original GP11 until getting the chance for a full day of set-up time at the recent Brno test.

Team-mate Valentino Rossi has used the GP11.1 since June's Assen round, and having both riders on the same bike should be mutually beneficial.

"Nicky [and Valentino] did a lot of laps [at the Brno test], finding good enough harmony with the GP11.1 that both riders will use it at Indy," confirmed Ducati team manager Vittoriano Guareschi. "This is an important decision that will accelerate our development work. 

"It's Nicky's home race, and that always provides extra motivation. In fact, he earned his first podium with Ducati there in 2009. He was also really strong last year, though his race was unfortunately affected when he lost a knee slide in the early laps.” 

Hayden, who dropped from third on the grid to sixth after the loss of his knee slider, recently tried the newly resurfaced infield section on a road bike.

“We're going to Indy, and we'll see what the new track surface does. I've ridden it, and the bumps are definitely gone, although I'd say it will take some time on Friday to clean it up and get some rubber down," said Nicky.

"I'm looking forward to this event. I always enjoy racing at home in front of friends and family, but I need to go there and focus on my job. 

"I want to try to do a good result while also having fun and enjoying the weekend. The team has worked really hard to get me the opportunity to ride this new bike, and now it's up to me to try and pay them back with a good result.” 

Hayden is currently seventh in the world championship with one podium. The #69 is just six points behind countryman Ben Spies (Yamaha) and is 15 points from Rossi.

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