Moto GP

Nicky Hayden ready for home GP

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The second United States round of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship will take place this Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the home circuit for Nicky Hayden.

The American was born and resides just a few hours away, and during the summer break, he was able to turn a few laps at the track aboard an 1198 SP. The infield section, between Turns 5 and 16, was recently repaved, and Hayden found it to be improved.

Hayden, who earned his first Ducati podium at Indianapolis in 2009, will be aboard the GP11.1 on Friday, just like his teammate Valentino Rossi. The Italian won his Indianapolis debut in 2008, and although the track isn't among his absolute favorites, he and his team would like to confirm their recent progress with the Desmosedici's setup.

"We're going to Indy, and we'll see what the new track surface does. I've ridden it, and the bumps are definitely gone, although I'd say it will take some time on Friday to clean it up and get some rubber down," Hayden said.

"I'm looking forward to this event," he continued. "I always enjoy racing at home in front of friends and family, but I need to go there and focus on my job. I want to try to do a good result while also having fun and enjoying the weekend. The team has worked really hard to get me the opportunity to ride this new bike, and now it's up to me to try and pay them back with a good result."

Rossi is particularly fond of racing in the United States, and like Hayden, he has many fans there that will join the many American Ducatisti that make the annual trip to "Ducati Island".

"Indy is a difficult circuit, and although it's not exactly one of my favorites, we'll see how we perform there with the Ducati," the Italian said. "They resurfaced part of the track, so the conditions should certainly be better from that point of view.

"We made a little progress with the GP11.1's setup during the Brno GP, and we'll see if we can confirm them at this next race. Anyway, racing in America is always nice for me, as I enjoy both the atmosphere and the fans, who are always very passionate. On the other hand, I'm very sorry that we'll be missing someone who undoubtedly followed our sport, though not at the track: Claudio Castiglioni was very passionate and he did a lot for the motorcycle world, and for me in particular when he helped me get started in racing in Sport Production 125 when I was 14."

Team Manager, Vittoriano Guareschi, added, "We come to Indy after a test day at Brno, where the team and both riders did a lot of work: Valentino dedicated all of his time to trying many different adjustments to the GP11.1's setup, which was a really tough assignment that Valentino approached with incredible commitment.

"Nicky also did a lot of laps, finding good enough harmony with the GP11.1 that both riders will use it at Indy. This is an important decision that will accelerate our development work. It's Nicky's home race, and that always provides extra motivation. In fact, he earned his first podium with Ducati there in 2009. He was also really strong last year, though his race was unfortunately affected when he lost a knee slide in the early laps."

Main Photo: Nicky Hayden
Credit: Ducati Press
Rossi and Jeremy Burgess

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