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Hayden pays tribute to title successor Stoner

Hayden pays tribute to title successor Stoner

One of the classiest riders on the world stage, 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden passed on the torch to Casey Stoner at Motegi with typical dignity.

One of the classiest riders on the world stage, 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden passed on the torch to Casey Stoner at Motegi with typical dignity. The American deliberately slowed up on his cool-down lap to shake his successor's hand, and had some positive words to make about the 21 year-old's 2007 campaign.

"There's a new World Champ now; it sucks for me, but I knew it was coming. Congratulations to Casey, his team and everyone involved," stated Hayden when quizzed later about his feelings. "I certainly think that he deserves it. He went to the school of hard knocks and came up. He made a lot of sacrifices, so hats off to him."

Hayden himself had an unspectacular race at his last Grand Prix as the title holder, finishing ninth after starting from the front row. Although it was a better result points-wise than his previous wet weather rides this season, ‘the Kentucky Kid' was nonetheless dissatisfied with the outcome of the race.

"I've crashed out of every wet race so far this year, and in Motegi I finished ninth which was nothing spectacular. I'm not sure whether it feels better to crash out at the front or to be running around in ninth."

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007, A-STYLE GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN, Nicky Hayden, Casey Stoner

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