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Hayden praises Dovizioso after Sepang battle

Hayden praises Dovizioso after Sepang battle

The 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden was full of praise for Andrea Dovizioso after their superb fight in the Polini Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix.

A brilliant battle between Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso was one of the highlights of the MotoGP race at Sepang on Sunday, with the latter emerging on top to claim his first ever premier class podium.

Hayden was of course disappointed to miss out on another rostrum finish himself, but the graceful American nonetheless had some kind words to say about the rider who will take his place in the Repsol Honda team as of next week´s post-season tests at Valencia.

Indeed, Dovizioso also spoke highly of Hayden after the race and the Kentucky Kid returned the compliment saying. `Congratulations to `Dovi´ on his first podium. The dude held tough. We went back and forth a few times and I enjoyed the battle, you know it was fun to be fighting for the podium but I came up short.´

Asked if he thought Dovizioso would make progress in 2009 taking up the factory RC212V that Hayden will leave behind as he moves to Ducati, the former MotoGP title-holder responded, `I really do think he will. Certainly he gets just about everything out of the package he´s got right now and he is solid. Week in and week out he doesn´t make a lot of mistakes and he is fast in all conditions. He is going to be a big threat next year and he is the real deal.´

With another opportunity to overcome Dovizioso this Sunday in the final round at Valencia, in their last race as fellow Honda riders, and with 17 points separating the pair Hayden still has the chance of beating the Italian into fifth spot in the final MotoGP standings.


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