Hayden on departure from Honda and Pedrosa Bridgestone move

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Repsol Honda rider Nicky Hayden had plenty to say on Thursday ahead of his home race at the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix.

Having done so much work to promote the inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix this year, with two demonstration rides at the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway undertaken in April and May, Nicky Hayden is determined to enjoy the experience this weekend despite his injury problems.

Hayden has not ridden since Laguna Seca in July due to a heel injury and still need crutches to walk, but he is excited about racing in Indiana, so close to his hometown of Owensboro, in the neighbouring state of Kentucky.

On the build-up to the historic MotoGP Indy date Hayden commented, `It just doesn´t seem real. Yesterday driving up here from home I was half way here by the time I would normally just be getting to the airport to fly off somewhere else. I have never really road-raced so close to home in my life. It is an awesome opportunity for me and for MotoGP.´

Confirming that he would be leaving Honda at the end of the current campaign, Hayden noted that he had achieved a great deal with his current team and stopped short of naming who he will be riding for in 2009, despite huge press speculation linking him with Ducati.

`I know it´s going to be a big change for me, and hopefully the announcement will be coming soon,´ he commented. `But still, there´s five races to go this season. That´s a lot of racing. I have had a long history with Honda. We´ve had a lot of good races together, won championships in the AMA, and obviously the World Championship was the big one. But I think it´s time to move on, try something different.´

Meanwhile, when asked for his thoughts on his team-mate Dani Pedrosa´s sensational mid-season switch from Michelin to Bridgestone tyres Hayden revealed, `It is quite a touchy subject. I was shocked when I found out. I wasn´t asked and I kind of heard on the street. In Misano they told me before the race and I couldn´t believe it like everyone else.´

`I doesn´t really change a whole lot for me,´ added the 2006 World Champion. `I mean it is one less rider on Michelins which I think hurts. It is getting close to being a `spec´ tyre now as there are only five or six of us left that are not on Bridgestone.´

`Obviously there will now be a wall down the middle of the pit-box, but to be honest there was already a bit of a wall there. So it doesn´t change a whole lot. I guess it is a bit of a drama and in MotoGP there is never a dull day!´

Hayden was also asked if there was any truth to a rumour that he could split with Honda before the end of the current campaign, but denied the suggestion and responded, `I do not have any intention not to do the rest of the season with Honda. That seems crazy. That was what some people thought after Misano but I owe it to Honda to go out and race. I think they know that, or at least the guys in my team do. I am not going to lay down until the very end at Valencia. Unless they lock the door over there on me I am going over there and getting on the bike!´

`It could happen,´ quipped Hayden light-heartedly. `There are probably people in that box that if I didn´t show up would probably never notice! But no, I plan on going to race.´

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