INDIANAPOLIS, IN, AUG 27 – Ducati Marlboro’s Nicky Hayden ended the first practice session for Sunday’s Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix with the third fastest time and a hole in his left forearm.Hayden was near the end of the lap, and end of the session, when he lost the front entering the turn 14 left-hander. Wary of reinjuring his damaged left wrist, Hayden lifted his wrist and tucked his elbow in. The wrist was saved, but he wore a hole in his leathers and into his skin. The team had to tape up the leathers before sending him back out.With only time to do one flying lap, Hayden wasn’t able to improve his time. Still, he finished third to teammate Casey Stoner and Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo on the opening day of practice.”It was rider error causing it to tip over,” he said. “Actually started out quite good. The bike felt good and I was going pretty decent with a hard tire on the rear. And put in a soft tire and felt quite a lot better immediately and started pushing the front a bit and made a little mistake and tipped over.”And took forever to come back in. I mean, we went out, under a tunnel, back, under another tunnel, around the golf course, I think we were on the cart path. Came back in and by the time I got back in and got back out…my leathers had completely ground through, so they had to tape those up. But the bike felt OK. You know, obviously we need to be in the 40’s.”Hayden finished with a fastest lap of 1:41.405 mins. to Stoner’s 1:40.884 mins. lap.Teammate Stoner had been critical of the bumps in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway surface, but Hayden wasn’t assigning blame, other than to himself.”You know, I got in a little bit hot and was just off line and it was Friday afternoon, so I thought don’t try to force it,” he said. “I kinda let it go a little bit thinking that I’d just run wide and just down I went. I was certainly, I mean it is bumpy in that corner and off line is not good. But I went pretty easy, but it’s not the first one of those I’ve had this year.”Hayden said he had two worries when he crashed, his wrist and the engine. Hayden already lost one of his allotted six engines to a crash and didn’t want to lose another one.”Well, as soon as I went down, I think that’s what I did, I tried to protect my wrist, so I dug my elbow in and did that, but I don’t think I did it any worse,” he said. “My arm got hot, just because it turned. But we got back to the box and the physio said ‘Was your wrist OK?’ I was like, ‘Well, it was hurting before I went out, so it still hurts. But it’s I don’t think worse or nothing. It wasn’t really a problem.”Hayden said as soon as he got up he could hear the engine still running “and took off after it and had to shut it down, because obviously the engines, I’ve lost one engine,” he said. The bike he crashed was the one he planned to race. “And when I got over there the handlebar broke off and was up under it, so it wasn’t like I could just hit the button, had to look and the handlebar was all spun around. There’s about two or three switches on that bar that look the same when it’s turned around backwards, so I had to start hitting buttons, finally shut it down.”Though the engine has heavy miles, he said “it looks OK. It was still running, but it had oil pressure. That’s the main thing. See if anything got sucked in the exhaust, which when I left the box they didn’t know yet.”
Hayden Crashes, Still Third
Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor
Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.