Ducati Marlboro's Nicky Hayden has decided to race in the season-opening Grand Prix of Qatar after a successful run in the Sunday evening warm-up.Hayden was back in the saddle less than a day after injuring his back in a violent high-side during qualifying. The 2006 World Champion was thrown from his Desmosedici GP09 towards the end of qualifying, sliding down the track on his back while the machine barreled through the gravel before flipping over the guardrail. Hayden was transported into the city of Doha, where a back x-ray proved negative. He was treated and released.Hayden finished Sunday evening's warm-up in 16th place with the best of his ten laps a 1:59.398. Though still sore from the horrendous crash, Hayden decided to race because it gives him a chance to get more laps on the Ducati in a season in which testing, from now on, is quite rare. And with only 18 riders in Sunday's season-opener, Hayden could easily come away with points for both himself and his team.

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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.

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