Nicky Hayden took sixth place at the United States Grand Prix after putting in a determined and calculated performance, and despite being slowed a bit by an early encounter with Bautista.
Just off the start, the American and Spaniard touched lightly, causing Hayden to lose some ground, and despite riding at a pace similar to that of the group that was fighting over fourth place, he was only able to catch Bradl.
Valentino Rossi had a more difficult race, struggling with a setup with which he wasn’t able to ride quickly enough all weekend. Two laps from the end, a fall when braking for the Corkscrew prevented him from earning eighth-place points.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 6th
“The day got off to a rough start, as I crashed in the warm-up session when I didn’t have enough heat in the brakes. For the race, my bike was the best it’s been this weekend, and I got a good start, but then Bautista and I touched. I thought maybe I knocked my brake lever, so I was too careful in turns one and two. Then I got held up behind Bautista and lost a gap to that second group, which I spent most of the race trying to bridge. I got to Bradl, but the other guys were already gone, although I didn’t have the pace to run with them anyway. I was fighting the bike and running wide in the turns, but I pushed until the end. It’s frustrating to struggle so much all weekend at Laguna, and it’s not the way I wanted to go into the two-week break, but I think we can put up a better fight at Indy.”
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) DNF
“I wasn’t fighting for the podium, but a crash like that at the end of the race is still disappointing because I had done the whole race like the first lap and my rhythm wasn’t fast at that moment. Still, I lost the front when I was approaching the Corkscrew, when the bike was vertical, right when I touched the brake, a bit like happened at Silverstone. We have a real problem: again today, we had a hard time getting the front tyre to work, and it was like new after thirty laps. Fortunately I’m fine, although it was a pretty hard crash. It wasn’t a great weekend. Now we have a short break, two important weeks, and then we’ll see how it goes at Indy.”
Vittoriano Guareschi, Team Manager
“It’s a shame about Nicky’s start, as he and Bautista touched and he lost contact with the leaders. It took him a while to get by Alvaro, who was a bit slower, and then he rode at fourth-place pace, similar to Spies, Crutchlow and Dovi. But it’s obviously difficult when there’s a gap to close on strong riders who are pushing hard. Anyway, on a track where we had a hard time in practice, Nicky made a bit of progress in the race. As for Vale, unfortunately, we had a little more trouble, and we weren’t able to put him in a situation where he could interpret this track well. In particular, we didn’t find a good balance for the bike, as the rear was working too hard and the front not enough. We’ll have to take another look at the data and prepare well for Indianapolis.”