PHILLIP ISLAND, AUSTRALIA, OCT 16 – Ducati Marlboro’s Nicky Hayden just missed out on a front row start after crashing on what would have been his fastest lap during qualifying on a cold and windy day at Phillip Island.Hayden had just run his best first segment when he hit the bumps in the Honda Hairpin and lost the front. He was quickly up, but with so little time left in the one hour session, and with a light rain beginning to fall, there was no time to improve.So he had to settle for the sixth fastest time, on the end of the second row next to Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) for Sunday’s 16th round of the MotoGP World Championship.”Up until I tipped over, the day’s been decent,” Hayden, who’d been among the leaders most the session, said. “We’ve been quite consistently up near the front and making a little bit of progress every run, every change. And tried something this afternoon on one bike and didn’t like. So just went back to the bike I started the session on. My first qualifying run I did 31.5 and felt OK, but I definitely thought I could go make a good step and try to get on the front row. It was spitting rain just a little bit, but the tires felt like they came in plenty quick on the warm-up lap and did my best T1 and then in Turn 4 I just lost the front.”Little bit over some bumps and I mean I struggle on the front over bumps. And felt it go and thought I had it saved OK, but I didn’t. I was down and pretty much the end of my session.”Hayden said the track felt “quite bumpy. So cold and grip is not great so it almost makes the bumps worse. There’s a few places where I got a bit of chatter, the bumps. Turn 1 is pretty bumpy for me, a few places. It’s not, I wouldn’t say too bad.”We were more trying to get some grip in the rear. I have a little problem on the bumps, but hadn’t been real bad on the front, so we were more changing, we had a different swingarm pivot in one bike and tried a different link. Stuff like that. More in the rear. And didn’t expect to get caught out there, because I felt the bumps like every other lap. And I just got off the brake and then looked towards the exit and down. But I mean it was just a small crash”So would’ve been nice to do my last run to see what I could do, because I like going around here, especially with new tires and it’s an intense lap, but didn’t happen. But anyway to still get on the second row after crashing, which normally can be a disaster. So I’m waiting to see for tomorrow. Twenty more minutes in the morning. Definitely to look at a few things. See what the weather does.”The weather has been unpredictable all weekend, so there was no reason to try to predict Sunday’s. Anything could happen.”Well, you know we practiced in the wet, so we’re ready for it,” he said. “I mean, we haven’t had a wet race this year so you really don’t know where you stand, so find out tomorrow. Today at 4 o’clock it would’ve been flag to flag, so see what we get tomorrow. I mean I ain’t even checking the forecast really.”
Hayden Sixth for Australian Grand Prix
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.