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Hayden looking to improve Japanese record

Hayden looking to improve Japanese record

Boosted by his first podium of the year in the dramatic first ever visit to his new home track at Indianapolis, Nicky Hayden wants a strong result in his last visit to Motegi as a Honda rider.

Having ridden on Honda machinery ever since arriving in MotoGP in 2003 Nicky Hayden this week heads to HRC´s home track for the final time as a Repsol Honda rider, before his departure to Ducati at the end of this season.

Coming off the back of a positive result in his new home race at Indianapolis, Hayden wants to use his current confidence and momentum to improve his record at the Motegi circuit which Honda calls home – and where he has only once stepped onto the podium, incidentally in his first visit to the track in 2003.

Hayden is of course still battling back to full fitness having required crutches to move about the Indy paddock due to his ongoing foot injury, but as his IMS ride demonstrated he is already back at a competitive level for the season finale.

`Indy gave us a little bit of a boost,´ stated Hayden. `So we´ll see if we can keep that going at Motegi. I´m looking forward to it because I´m planning on finishing the season strong. I owe that to Honda, they´ve been a big part of my career, so it would be nice to get some more podiums. This will be my last race on a Honda at their home track, so it would be really nice to get a result for all the Honda people who have worked with me.´

Recalling his first race at the Tiwn Ring track as a MotoGP novice five years ago, Hayden added, `First time I went to Motegi as a rookie in 2003 I battled with Sete (Gibernau), Valentino (Rossi) and Makoto (Tamada) and they ended up giving me third, my first top-three result.´

`But since then I really haven´t done much there,´ added the 2006 World Champion whose best subsequent Motegi result was fifth in his title-winning campaign.

`I´ve struggled in some of the hairpin corners,´ he continued. `It´s an okay track, I like the combination in the back when you come under the first bridge, that all flows together really nicely. I like those tunnels, because they´re different, it almost feels like you need headlights! Braking stability is probably the biggest thing, plus acceleration. You need a bike that´s good going back through the gears, so you need a good clutch and engine braking set-up.´

MotoGP, 2008, A-STYLE GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN, Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda Team

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