Indy MotoGP: No Smooth Slide for Hayden

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Red Bull Grand Prix

The American Nicky Hayden was hoping for a repeat performance of the previous years’ podium finishes at Indy, but the Kentuckian had to settle for sixth Sunday at the Red Bull Indy Grand Prix, Round 11 of the 2010 MotoGP Championship.

The reason? A very unusual circumstance for the Ducati Team rider: problems with his Alpinestars leather suit. The 29-year old lost his left knee slider after it got caught on a drain cover and ripped off on the third lap.

This destroyed confidence in left turns, as the future teammate of Valentino Rossi had to rely on just a piece of leather between his knee and the pavement when leaned over, causing for a very unsmooth slide. And for the remaining 25 laps, those 10 left turns (out of 16) wore a hole in his leathers.

Nicky Hayden says: “I still can’t believe what happened – I am so disappointed. I was being careful over the first few laps because in that heat the track was very greasy. I lost the front slightly on the third lap and caught my left knee on a drain cover on one of the curbs, right where the knee slider attaches to the velcro. ”

“There are so many left-hand corners here… from that point on I had to take it really steady, I couldn’t push anywhere and finished up with a huge hole in my leathers. I am incredibly disappointed because we had to the pace to put in a performance today.”

The race may have possibly been Hayden’s best result of the year, considering he placed his GP10 on the front row for the first time this season, taking the last spot up front with Fiat Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo and pole-sitter Ben Spies on his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha.

Besides Hayden’s troubles, the other factory Ducati team also had a rough race at Indy. Casey Stoner crashed out on the eight lap while challenging Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi for sixth position.

Casey Stoner
says: “I am very disappointed – it was a nothing crash but obviously it was enough to leave me out of the race. I know a lot of people have had front end crashes but apparently here at Indianapolis we have gone back to the situation we were in at the start of the season and we’ve struggled to find front-end feel in the corners. It is a real shame because we had good pace and I think we could have been on the podium.”

Stoner had reported his disgust for the “too bumpy” Indy circuit, and when Indianapolis Motor Speedway confirmed the track would be on the 2011 calendar, Stoner said “70 percent” of it should be repaved before MotoGP returns.

Vittoriano Guareschi (team manager) says: “What happened to Nicky is really incredible but he did brilliantly to finish the race in that situation and finish it so well. I am gutted for him because he was in competitive shape and missed out on a possible podium. Casey crashed just at the point when the tire he had chosen was coming up to its optimum level and he was recovering well but lost the front. It is a shame because after five podiums in a row he could have had another one here.”