Hayden on Front Row in Portuguese MotoGP in Estoril

Henny Ray Abrams | October 30, 2010

Ducati Marlboro’s Nicky Hayden will start from the front row for the third time this year after torrential rains washed out final qualifying for Sunday’s Portuguese Grand Prix.Hayden was second fastest to Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo in Friday afternoon practice, the least weather-lashed session of the weekend. Friday’s first practice was a near complete washout and Saturday’s qualifying was canceled halfway into the session when race officials deemed the track unsafe. The grid was set from the combined practice times, with Lorenzo on the pole in front of Hayden and Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi.”Yeah, it’s nasty out there, especially now,” Hayden said. “It’s similar to yesterday morning when we didn’t ride. The times we’ve been out on the track yesterday afternoon and this morning hasn’t been so bad. This morning was definitely a little bit colder, which made it tougher, but we, of course, us riders, we want to be out there as bad as the fans and everybody at home wants to see us.”But really, it’s too nasty. I mean it’s windy, it’s cold, just a good chance to get some people hurt. So they made the right decision and…called it off. And we’re on the front row, so we’ll take it. Any time you get on that front row you don’t apologize, don’t ask questions, just go take it and we see what the weather’s going to be tomorrow. We really don’t know, but we’ll see what we get. Try to put on a good show.”Hayden had previously been on the front row when he qualified third in Indianapolis and second in Malaysia.The one hiccup in his weekend was a spill in Saturday morning practice. He wasn’t alone in hitting the ground. Lorenzo and Hayden’s teammate Casey Stoner also crashed. What the crash taught him was that  “we have a few things we need to work on. I know it’s not great for the fans here and the people watching at home but with that amount of water on track it wasn’t worth the risk this afternoon.”Rossi said he’d prefer a wet race, given that all the practice had been in the wet. Hayden didn’t have a strong opinion either way.Asked if he’d prefer a wet race, he said, “In some ways yeah, but I mean really at this stage in the season, why not do something silly, even if we have a quick dry warm-up or just a dry race? It would be a little bit unpredictable and little bit strange.”But we’re all pros. We’ve been riding these bikes all year. We have some information on this track. So it would definitely be a bit of a gamble if it is dry tomorrow, but even if it is wet, we’ve practiced in it, we’ve qualified in it, so it might be a little bit more of a legit race. But just crack them curtains when you roll out of bed in the morning and see what you get and get ready to line up and try to do work.”

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.