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Hayden's hard work finally pays off

Hayden's hard work finally pays off

One the happiest sights at the A-Style TT Assen this weekend was the smile on MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden's face after he secured the first podium finish of his title defence season.

One the happiest sights at the A-Style TT Assen this weekend was the smile on MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden's face after he secured the first podium finish of his title defence season.

Since becoming champion at the end of last season Hayden's problems adapting to the 800cc era have been well documented as the number one plate has hung heavily on his Repsol Honda RC212V.

The Kentucky Kid has had to watch as Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi have built up a considerable lead in the standings in the first half of the year, but today the 25 year old American got the closest he has come all year to challenging that pair as his form and luck finally appeared to have changed.

After showing good race pace in the dry practice runs on Thursday and Friday Hayden struggled in a wet qualifying session but made a superb start to the Dutch TT as he went from 13th on the grid to fourth at the first corner.

Bouncing back from his Donington crash six days ago and clearly finally getting a chance to enjoy the new chassis on his Honda as the race progressed, Hayden got on with what he knows best, and put his head down to push into third – notching the second fastest lap of the race on lap seven.

Hayden eventually came home 6.077s behind race winner Rossi, 4.168s behind Stoner and just over four seconds ahead of fourth placed team-mate Dani Pedrosa to record his best result of 2007 – at a track where took victory last season.

Hayden will aim to take the momentum on to Sachsenring in Germany in a fortnight's time, before heading to Laguna Seca and his home Grand Prix for the last race before the summer break – where he would love nothing more than to make it a hat-trick of American wins in three successive seasons.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007, A-STYLE TT ASSEN, Nicky Hayden

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