Ducati Marlboro’s Nicky Hayden will miss this weekend’s Czech Grand Prix in Brno because of the injuries he suffered in a qualifying crash for last Sunday’s Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix.
Hayden was one of three riders – Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner and Yamaha’s Ben Spies were the others – who had spectacular highsides in the turns 13-14 complex at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. About 10 minutes before the end of the session, Hayden was on a fast lap on a soft tire when he was thrown off his motorcycle. The Kentuckian was knocked out and suffered short term memory loss. He also suffered two small, non-displaced fractures to the second and third metacarpal on his right hand. He was ruled unfit to race and watched the race from his pit box.
“To miss any race is tough, but to miss my home GP is extremely difficult,” he said on Sunday. The last race Hayden missed through injury was Misano 2008 while he was riding for Repsol Honda. It’s the first race he’s missed for Ducati Marlboro. “Still, I realize that I had a pretty big one yesterday and was knocked out for quite a while, so to be here today more or less okay is positive. There’s no really big damage, although injuries to the right hand are always worse than the left. Even if I thought I could have ridden today, the doctors wouldn’t have cleared me because I was knocked out for so long. Concussions need to be taken seriously, so I don’t fault them for that.”
With the hand injury preventing him from racing, he now has an additional two weeks to be ready for the next round of the MotoGP World Championship, the San Marino Grand Prix at Misano on the September 14-16 weekend. Hayden will not be replaced at Brno. Valentino Rossi will be Ducati’s lone rider.
“It’s tough to miss another race,” Hayden said. “I don’t have big problems, but my hand is still very swollen and I don’t have much strength. And of course right hand injuries are worse for motorcycle racers. I would have been at far less than 100 percent, and if I used too much force or crashed again, I could displace the breaks and possibly be in big trouble.
“Obviously, the head is even more important, and with the amount of time I was unconscious, I’m still dealing with a headache. The main thing is all the doctors told me racing was a really bad idea and not smart, and everybody on my team agreed. As much as the racer in me doesn’t like staying at home and missing track time and points, I need to listen to the experts and try to heal up and get ready for Misano. That’s an important race for me and for Ducati, and I’ll be doing all the rehab to come back as fit as possible. I don’t like it, but it’s the right thing to do.”
“It was really difficult watching the race. It would have been tough today, but we were improving through the weekend, and I had a pretty decent pace. That’s how it goes sometimes. I’ll try to get healthy and come back as soon as possible.”