As Hayden is forced to retire from home Grand Prix
The Repsol Honda Team had a tough U.S. Grand Prix with Dani Pedrosa battling to fifth place while Nicky Hayden was forced to pull out of the race with 10 laps of the 32-lap race remaining.
From second on the grid,
Pedrosa made an excellent start and led for the first three corners before being passed by Casey Stoner. Riding at the absolute limit the Spanish ace kept pace with Stoner in the opening laps, but as the performance from his tyres began to fade he was forced to drop back. Stoner went on to win the race by 10 seconds while Pedrosa brought home his RC212V in fifth to earn 11 World Championship points.
Nicky Hayden was served another slice of bad luck as a first lap incident effectively ended his race before it had begun. After making a fast start from fourth on the grid, the World Champion clashed with John Hopkins in Turn Two, breaking his screen, dropping him through the field and damaging his front brake adjuster in the process. The 25-year-old home favourite valiantly rode on despite experiencing time-sapping softness at the brake lever which he could do nothing about due to the damaged adjuster. However, Hayden eventually decided it was too dangerous to continue and reluctantly pulled into the pits.
The MotoGP paddock now takes a break for three weekends before battle reconvenes with the Grand Prix of the Czech Republic at the Brno circuit on August 19, where the Repsol Honda Team will look to recapture the form of recent races.
“This was a very hard race for us and I'm not really satisfied with fifth after winning the race last week and qualifying second here. I made a good start and was leading on the first lap, but I was never able to push as hard as I wanted today. We had quite a few problems with the tyres and pretty much from the start I had a lot of chatter at the rear which was increasing through the race. As every rider came past me I was trying to stay with them, but I simply wasn't able to – I would have crashed. So I just concentrated on staying on the bike because I couldn't do more than that. It's quite disappointing after the win in Germany and we have to make sure we improve the situation before the next race.”
“It's such a shame to get this result at my home race, for me, the team and for the fans. It's certainly been a tough season and this is just the way things seem to be going – another first lap incident. I don't want to say too much about that because it isn't going to make things any different so we'll leave the incident at that. Luckily I didn't get hurt because I took big impact on my leg. The main thing is that it damaged my brake cable and as soon as I got going after three laps my brakes just went softer and softer and the adjuster was broken which meant I couldn't take any of the slack out of it. I carried on riding in case there was a red flag, but once I went a lap down I wasn't going to get in the leaders' way with the brakes going off, I'm not going to do that to anybody, so I brought it in the pits. It's a shame for all the fans because the support here was unreal and I would at least have enjoyed getting in the race and having a battle.
We had some good momentum going with a couple of podiums in a row, but now we've got a few weeks off and we definitely need to re-evaluate a few things and come back fighting.”
“This race was obviously quite disappointing for us because unfortunately the Repsol Honda Team did not have the chance to challenge for the win today. Casey Stoner and Bridgestone were very strong and we could not race with them. Dani made a good start and stayed with Casey for as long as he could, but soon his tyres started to lose performance with the front pushing and the rear chattering and sliding. He made the best of a difficult situation and was able to push hard for the first ten laps but it was impossible for him to fight at the front. Nicky was involved in a first lap incident and broke his screen and damaged his brakes. It's a big shame for him at his home race because I think he could have had a similar performance to Valentino Rossi here, but realistically I think it would also have been impossible for him to go for the win today. For the next race we must work very hard with Michelin to improve this situation and close the gap to our rivals because I've never experienced this sort of performance deficit.”