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Hayden satisfied with top five spot

Hayden satisfied with top five spot

Ducati’s Nicky Hayden was content with his top five performance at the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix.

Nicky Hayden was unable to match the fourth place which he has achieved on five occasions at Sepang, but his top five finish on Sunday in Malaysia was enough to keep him satisfied as he nears the end of a somewhat frustrating first season with Ducati.

The American star has had some bad luck over the course of 2009 with some unfortunate crashes and a disastrous tyre choice at Donington, but he has seen a steady improvement in terms of his competitiveness as he finds the way forward on the factory Desmosedici GP9.

A good working relationship with his team – and in particular with his recently rejuvenated colleague Casey Stoner – should see Hayden make further progress over the winter and he was in a positive mood when he analysed his Malaysian result on Sunday.

“It was a strange race because the rain only came just before the start and it was falling hard,” he told “Luckily we managed to get some racing in and when it first started raining I got excited because I thought maybe I could do something special. But at the beginning I was quite weak on the brakes and a few guys came past me, then once I got going I had a fun race.”

The 28 year-old from Kentucky continued, “I enjoyed myself passing and fighting with people, trying to close down the gap to the lead group, but I was just missing a little bit to really go with (Valentino) Rossi and (Jorge) Lorenzo and try to fight for the podium. When Chris Vermeulen came close to me I knew he was a rain specialist so I pushed hard to make sure he didn’t see a crack in the door.”

Summarising the penultimate round of the year, Hayden added, “In the end top five here in Malaysia with no practice in the rain is not bad. I think I was at more of a disadvantage than some of the others who know their bike well and have ridden this track in the rain. We had some engine brake settings that were wrong and on a couple of corners it was really hurting me, but really overall the team did a pretty good job.”


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