Can Hayden Win the US GP Again?

Nicky HaydenFor the second race in a row, Nicky Hayden returned to riding at his former championship level. At Sachsenring for the German MotoGP, starting 14th on the grid, he finished on the podium in 3rd behind Pedrosa and Capirossi. This follows his 13th to 3rd run at Assen. Two 3rd place finishes in a row after a first half season without a podium indicates something has changed and none too soon since his next race is in front of the home crowd at Laguna Seca, where he has won the last 2 years in a row. To win here, however, he needs to qualify in the front instead of using the race to make up for a bad spot on the grid.

What's the change in the last two races? Is it something from the Honda crew that improved the bike? Did Michelin bring better tires? Or did Nicky just get his game together and run a great race? It may be some combination of the three but whatever the reason, he'll need every bit of it and maybe a little more when he comes home to the U.S. This could be interesting.

Link: MotoGP

Comments

  1. mark says

    The sense I get from things Hayden has said in interviews and tidbits I’ve read from various sources is that the bike was simply not competitive earlier in the season, but his team’s been working hard to improve it. Even Pedrosa, who is a good 50 lbs lighter than Hayden, has not been as competitive on this bike as he was last year. Combine that with the fact that Michelin tires apparently haven’t been as good this year as Bridgestones, and the results aren’t too surprising. Hopefully issues with both the bike and the tires are being sorted out — Hayden’s two podiums in a row and Pedrosa’s win certainly point to this.

    Laguna should be an interesting race to watch. Hopefully Nicky will be able to pull it off.

  2. aaron says

    I say it’s the tires. the bridgestones had the upper hand for quite a while. you can’t blame the bike too much, as pedrosa finished 13 seconds clear of the ducati in second place. (16.7 ahead of hayden)

    I wonder if hayden should consider world superbikes? his build and riding style seems to be more physical, and the 800′s look to reward more delicate riding. with the extra power and weight, superbikes might be the way to go. one of my favorite riders couldn’t get things to work in motogp, but when haga returned to WSB, the fireworks were back!

  3. chris says

    nicky’s season has so far been kinda similar to rossi’s 06 season. horrible beginning, followed by just barely missing out on the championship. nicky has got just as much chance as rossi did last year. let’s keep our fingers crossed.

  4. says

    Keep our fingers crossed? Yeah but not for him. How about John Hopkins?? He is placing consistently better than Hayden but I don’t see any articles about him. Hayden? oh yeah maybe cause he won the championship last year by being a consistent rider, not because he is a genius pilot on the GP bikes

    Sorry but as a huge MotoGP (and American) fan I do not see what the big deal is about Hayden. I was actually embarrassed he won 2006 the way he did. I agree with Aaron… send him to WSB.

  5. chris says

    hey i never said i didn’t support other riders. i’m just a Hayden fan. i think Hopkins has a much better chance at the championship. not to mention Colin Edwards, he hasn’t exactly been doing poorly. i’m just saying Hayden shouldn’t been written off QUITE yet. either way, it’ll take a minor act of god to keep Stoner from continuing to runaway with the thing.

  6. Phantom says

    I hope all the Americans are strong at Laguna, it’s good for the fans.

    I’ve thought Hayden was a lost cause for 800cc, not because of the problems with the RC212V, but because he’s ex Superbike and the 800s favour the 250-style technique of high corner speed.

    But he really turned it on for the last two races…

    His problems at Laguna – Rossi, who’s never won there and wants to fix that, his compatriots, his team-mate, and Stoner… it could be a hell of a race.