PHOTOGRAPHY BY GOLD & GOOSE
In the world of MotoGP, the biggest piece still not played in the silly season puzzle is where will Nicky Hayden go. And it’s a question that remains unanswered. It’s not a secret though that it hasn’t been an ideal season for the former World Champion with the Ducati team still struggling to close the gap on its competitors, but fans have been treated to some great race battles between him and his teammate Andrea Dovisioso. And it looks like there’s some fire back in Nicky Hayden. We got a chance to catch-up with him before this weekend’s British Grand Prix to ask him about it, if the silly season drama was a distraction, and the upcoming race at Silverstone.
Seems like you’ve got some of that old fire back, kind of the old Nicky Hayden. Some good battles lately with Dovi?
Well, I don’t know. I mean yeah it’s easy for people to say I guess because the last couple laps of some of our races have been on T.V. But I don’t really feel anymore or any less than before if I’m honest but I guess everybody’s entitled to their own opinion, of course. The bike was working a bit better these last few weeks so it’s easier to be more aggressive when you’re more confident in the bike.
Are you enjoying it?
I would say this season has not been my most enjoyable, for sure. I’m not going to lie to anybody the gap to the front has been so big in some races that it’s been tough. Especially… we had had high expectations for this new bike. We tested a lot and thought that was really gonna try to help give us a step forward to close the gap but in the end it really hasn’t been what we had. So to say, “Oh I’m having a lot of fun running around eighth, ninth place, 30, 40 seconds from the front”. Is very frustrating. So I would be lieing if I said how great everything is. So I’m gonna not kid anybody and say it hasn’t been a lot of fun but of course are worse situations to be in the world. So it’s not so bad.
With all the silly seaon drama, are you still focused in the now or somewhere in between looking ahead, looking at your options?
Well of course I think about the future. I want to keep racing so of course I’m putting in some thought and trying to decide what I want to do, but I don’t really think it affects a whole lot on the track. Once I’m at the track I don’t really talk about it or think about it. I don’t prepare any different. But of course you know there’s times when you definitely… it’s your future so you want to take it serious and get all your information right to be able to make a good choice.
It’s one of those things if you’re riding good during contract time people say, “aww it’s just cause he’s hungry and has a contract.” If youre riding bad and no results people say, “aww it’s too much pressure, his head’s not focused.” So people can turn it any way they want. But really it doesn’t really change a whole lot in my eyes.
Where does Silverstone rank for you? You’re favorite? Least favorite?
I really like Silverstone. I would say its one of my favorite tracks on the championship. Really fast. Really long. I think it is maybe the longest track on the championship now. Lap time is I guess it and Austin are similar lap time, I’m not exactly sure now, but 2:02, something like that, fastest lap in the race. I like it. It’s actually been a pretty good track for me the last couple of years. A couple of years ago I had the fastest lap of the race in the rain. Last year I had a good race going until the tire went off and was in the front group. It’s not an easy track. There’s so much to it, so long, so many different parts.
The one thing, we’re going to it this year at quite a different time in the championship. Normally we go there and it’s really wet and cold. In theory, should be a good bit warmer this weekend. So see what that changes. And actually this year were going to the old paddock. So the tracks the same, but the starting line and the finish line is a little bit different. Which doesn’t really change much. It’s a nightmare for some of the engineers when they are trying to compare data because the lap starts and ends at a different place, but for the actual riders it’s easy.
Are you doing your rain dance now?
Well not yet. But if all else fails I guess we will do a rain dacne. But I really hope that this week we can be more competitive. But like I said if all else fails on Saturday and we got nothing left to try we’ll definitely hope for rain.
What is like to have races back to back to back? Does it help you out? Does it wear on you?
It can go both ways. If your hot and things are clicking of course it’s good to keep rolling. But for other guys when you’re injured and things aren’t going well it is nice to have a week off, possibly do a test or something. So I like back to back races once you’re in a rythem and stuff. But it is three weeks, you know three - back to back to back – might not sound like a lot to some people, but you know they’re long weeks. You do Indianapolis which is your home race, really busy, hectic, and then pack up go to Czech republic, and then England. Can be long demanding three weeks. Sure at the end of the three weeks everyone is a bit beat down, but that’s normal. Its just part of it. But actually I prefer at least back to backs if I’m healthy.