The Ducati Team duo of Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden head to Indianapolis this week for Round 12 of the 2011 MotoGP Championship with some soothing stats.
Firstly, the race is considered the American Hayden’s home race, since Nicky was only born a few hours away in Kentucky. And besides being his home race and having his home-crowd cheer him on, Hayden is also the only rider to pilot a machine around the newly-refurbished circuit.
Two weeks ago, Hayden rode a Ducati 1198 SP around the Indy circuit, which was repaved between turns 5 and 16, the once-bumpy sections of the track. And like year’s past, Hayden, who took his first podium on the Ducati in Indy during 2009, will be cheered on by many fans in “Ducati Island.”
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team GP11.1 MotoGP) says: “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.
“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.”
As for Valentino Rossi, he won the debut race at Indianapolis in 2008, and took a podium there in 2009. Indy is not Rossi’s favorite track, but he’s looking to use it to improve upon the setup on the GP11.1.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team GP11.1 MotoGP) says: “Indy is a difficult circuit, and although it’s not exactly one of my favorites, we’ll see how we perform there with the Ducati. They resurfaced part of the track, so the conditions should certainly be better from that point of view. We made a little progress with the GP11.1′s setup during the Brno GP, and we’ll see if we can confirm them at this next race.
“Anyway, racing in America is always nice for me, as I enjoy both the atmosphere and the fans, who are always very passionate. On the other hand, I’m very sorry that we’ll be missing someone who undoubtedly followed our sport, though not at the track: Claudio Castiglioni was very passionate and he did a lot for the motorcycle world, and for me in particular when he helped me get started in racing in Sport Production 125 when I was 14.”