Former MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden began a new chapter in his career at the start of the year, moving to Ducati for the 2009 season. The American has been familiarising himself with the Desmosedici GP9 and his new team, and also collaborating with one of their principal sponsors in Shell.
Nicky Hayden Speaks...
"Every part of the weekend is important, I think that first practice on a Friday sometimes really sets the tone, how quick you make progress and you normally know by the end of Friday if it's going to be a good weekend or not. Qualifying also on Saturday is really important, the level of competition in MotoGP is so important that you can't qualify on the fourth row and expect to have a big result on Sunday normally, so it's all important - every lap, every session you've really got to focus on it and get the most out of everything so come Sunday when it is time to race you're prepared.Those meetings at night are just as important to make the right decisions with your team and to make the right steps to be ready to race.
"I've got a routine that I like to stick to and I take the weekend really serious.It's not a game, it's not there just to be hanging out and ‘oh if it goes good, ok if not, whatever' I take it serious and a lot of people expect a lot from you so it's you know, some weekends are a lot better than others but for the most part I feel really lucky, really fortunate to do what I do. I love the racing; I love what I do, so the more races the better for me! That's the fun part..."
Favorite MotoGP Circuits
"Every race is a big race. You know, the home GP's in America this year, Laguna Seca we're going to race July 4th and Indy also is huge, I mean MotoGP in America is growing a lot and Indy is very close to my house. We've worked a lot promoting the race together. So there's those two and also the two Italian rounds - Mugello in particular, I think to be the Ducati factory rider, to go to Mugello it's something that I'm quite excited about. It'll certainly be a big sense of pride but they're all important - they all pay the same amount of points so you need to bring your ‘A' game every week."
Ultimate Street Bikes
"The road bikes are getting really cool and the new Hypermotard by Ducati is pretty cool because it's so versatile, I would have to say that's probably the best bike, if I had to go out and buy a street bike right now that would be the one."
"I would say my all time hero is Bubba Shobert, he was an American dirt-tracker who went to race roadracing and won some AMA races and just started in GP before he had a career-ending crash at Laguna Seca. Actually the second year I won at Laguna I wore a replica helmet like his and that was one of the coolest moments of my life, to win a race in his helmet. But I respect all the guys, all the guys who came before me to really pave the road, to give me this sport how it is."