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Mixed feelings for Hayden

Mixed feelings for Hayden

Mixed feelings for Hayden

Nicky Hayden left Australia on Monday feeling satisfied with his performance at Phillip Island the previous day but disappointed that it didn't count for anything more than sixth place.

The Repsol Honda rider had raised hopes of a repeat of his podium from last season with a provisional front row spot on Friday but disaster struck in the final qualifying session, when he was unable to improve his time.

"Saturday was terrible," explained Hayden. "My bike just didn't feel right from the start and we just seemed to have a load of problems. That really threw my rhythm and then on a fast qualifying lap I pushed the front and ran off-track."

In the end, Hayden was forced to start from the fourteenth spot but fought his way through the pack to win an entertaining battle with Honda factory colleagues Max Biaggi and Makoto Tamada.

"You put yourself in a hole when you have to start from the fifth row," he said. "I got a good start and made some pretty good passes on the first lap. It took me a while to get up with Biaggi and it was good fun racing the boys. It would have been a whole lot more fun racing for the lead though.

"Generally I'm pretty disappointed because I scored my first real podium at Phillip Island last year and I was hopeful of a much better result. I love the atmosphere of the place, the track, everything. Like I say I didn't make it easy for myself starting from fourteenth so it was a decent ride but I know I should have done better."

Hayden flew from Melbourne back to his native Kentucky for a few days' rest before he heads back to Europe for the final race of the season at Valencia. Brothers Tommy and Roger Lee will also be making the trip after an exciting end to their own seasons in the AMA Supersport category, where Tommy pipped Roger Lee to the title in the final round at Virginia International Raceway just over a week ago.

"I can't believe it's the last race of the year – my brothers are going to be there for the first time this season so I really want to do well in front of them. They both had a great season in the AMA so it would be nice to celebrate something together on Sunday night."

Tags:
MotoGP, 2004, CINZANO AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX, Nicky Hayden

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