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Hayden keen to entertain Indianapolis crowd

Hayden keen to entertain Indianapolis crowd

Nicky Hayden is assured of massive support this weekend as he makes his comeback from injury at the historical first staging of the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix.

The biggest weekend of the season for 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden is just around the corner and the all-American hero cannot wait to get started on Friday at the new Indianapolis Motor Speedway circuit, despite his recent heel injury.

Hayden´s hometown of Owensboro, Kentucky, is just a three hour drive from the latest addition to the MotoGP calendar, meaning the Repsol Honda star will be guaranteed huge support from the crowds attending the inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix.

The 27 year-old pulled out of the race at Misano last time out due to the pain and swelling in his right foot - having qualified in sixteenth place - in order to give himself the best chance of being fit for Indy.

Having sustained the injury during an exhibition ride in Los Angeles over the summer break, this Sunday´s Indianapolis contest will be Hayden´s first race since Laguna Seca in July, where he finished fifth.

With his family and friends in attendance and a strong record on American soil in his portfolio – two of Hayden´s three MotoGP career wins have come at Laguna Seca – the Kentucky Kid will be hoping to put on a good show at the track which he inaugurated in April on a vintage 1909 Indian bike and returned to for a demonstration lap onboard a Honda CBR1000 - on the Indy 500 weekend in May.

Hayden will this weekend be working in a partitioned Repsol Honda pit-box for the first time, following his team-mate Dani Pedrosa´s decision to switch to Bridgestone tyres mid-season, in order to protect data confidentiality as he remains on Michelins.

Indeed, Hayden believes that information from July´s tyre test at Indy will be crucial for setting up his RC212V for the new circuit as he looks ahead to the weekend. He noted, `Indy´s going to be a big challenge for everyone, but I quite enjoy going to new circuits. We will use the data the test teams got when they tested there in July to help line up the transmission and so on. The track layout doesn´t look so spectacular, because it´s inside an oval so there´s not a lot of room for them to work with, and it´s quite flat. But Indy has a long history and a big tradition and they know how to promote a race. I think they´re going to smash it – put on an awesome event.´

On riding so close to home, Hayden added, `For me it´s crazy to be racing a GP three hours from my house! I just wish I was going into it healthy. It´s not been long since Misano, though going left around this circuit should be better for my right foot. It´s a good time to go home and get some support from the fans. We´ll give it all we´ve got and try to get a good result for them.´

MotoGP, 2008, RED BULL INDIANAPOLIS GRAND PRIX, Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda Team

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