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Hayden enjoys racing for podium

Hayden enjoys racing for podium

Although he faded late in the race and was caught by Valentino Rossi close to the end, Nicky Hayden thoroughly enjoyed the visit to Phillip Island.

Starting from third on the grid and running with eventual race-winner Casey Stoner early in Sunday´s Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, Nicky Hayden was ultimately squeezed into third by a rampant Valentino Rossi late on – but the American Repsol Honda rider still enjoyed the action as he continued his good recent run of form since returning from injury.

`I got a great start and I thought I was going to lead early into turn one,´ Hayden said afterwards. `I hung in there with Casey for a long time and I felt pretty good, pretty comfortable in there. Then I ran into a few little problems and I just wasn´t able to carry the corner speed or start stretching away.´

Explaining that his own tyre choice may have been the reason for his drop in pace towards the end of the race, Hayden added, `On the last few laps it got tough to try and hold off Valentino for sure, it was spinning a lot. I went with a bit more of a soft tyre than maybe Michelin wanted me to, but it was the only tyre I could make a lap time with. I pushed until the end and hated Valentino catching me on the last lap, but nonetheless it was a fun race and I really enjoyed it.´

Since missing the Brno and Misano races due to a broken heel bone, Hayden has come back in style with two podiums and one fifth place finish – and the Kentucky Kid is in a positive frame of mind as he looks ahead his last two races with Honda, before his exciting move to Ducati Marlboro.

On his recovery from injury Hayden commented, `I mean today, on the track I´m at 100% honestly. Maybe I can´t do some of the training, but there is no problem here with the foot. I feel good and there are only two races to go. It has been a hard season for us but with my team, I am really proud of my guys.´

`We have dug our heels in here when we were maybe at our lowest point with missing some races. Now we have arched our backs and been able to get a couple of good results, things are going good again and I am having fun , so I will try to keep on the podium for the rest of the season.´

MotoGP, 2008, AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX, Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda Team

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