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Big weekend for Ducati as MotoGP heads Stateside

Big weekend for Ducati as MotoGP heads Stateside

Ducati look ahead to Nicky Hayden’s home event, Mika Kallio’s U.S. race debut and Casey Stoner’s return to racing in just over a month’s time.

Ducati look forward to one of their biggest weekend’s of the year at the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix, with the U.S. market being of specific importance to the Italian factory and the round 12 event of course being the home GP for their American star Nicky Hayden.

Last season, riding for previous employers Honda, Hayden dug out a superb podium when he was classified second in the hurricane-affected first ever MotoGP race at The Brickyard and the 2006 World Champion previews the return to Indy saying, “This is probably the race I look forward to most as it’s just three hours from my house and MotoGP now is becoming very popular in the States. Last year it was a great weekend for me, the crowd was great and Indy did a great job in organising their first race and made us proud of it. I would love to have another good weekend like that one.

The Kentuckian rider continued “I like the track itself even though it’s quite flat. The most challenging thing is that it has different kinds of asphalt on different parts of the track so it will be a hard job to find out where there is grip and to find the best set-up. Hopefully we won’t have another hurricane, the weather should be fine, so we will see how it goes.”

Meanwhile, Hayden’s temporary team-mate in the absence of Casey Stoner, MotoGP rookie Mika Kallio is due to make his U.S. race debut this weekend. The smaller classes do not compete at Laguna Seca and Kallio missed the Californian MotoGP race due to injury earlier in the season, whilst last year he was part of the 250cc field which was unable to compete at Indy due to the bad weather.

The Finnish rider commented, “Even though I came here last year the race itself was cancelled because of the hurricane. Anyway, I can’t say I don’t know the track because we did contest every practice session, including the warm-up. It’s not exactly my favourite kind of track but it’s ok. There are three different kinds of asphalt and that makes it really tricky to get a set-up. Anyway, we’ll do our best and I’d like to be competing within the top five or six.”

With regard to Stoner’s progress back in Australia as he continues to recuperate from illness, Ducati’s MotoGP Project Director Livio Suppo stated, “The news from Casey is positive, he is getting stronger and I’m sure he will be back at full strength at Estoril. As far Indy is concerned, I think everything is in place for both Nicky and Mika to have a good weekend. At Brno they were both lapping at a similar pace to the guys who finished on the podium. Nicky will have extra motivation here at his home circuit and for Mika it will be his second race in factory colours and I hope he feels more comfortable.”

MotoGP, 2009, RED BULL INDIANAPOLIS GRAND PRIX, Nicky Hayden, Ducati Marlboro Team

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