Hayden takes hard-fought sixth
Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa took a brilliant second-place finish at Shanghai this afternoon following a race-long battle with winner Valentino Rossi.
The result maintained the Spaniard's 100 per cent 2008 podium record and most
importantly moved him into the World Championship points lead. Nicky Hayden enjoyed a busy race during which he battled long and hard for a sixth-place finish.
The race, which started on a dry track after heavy morning rainfall, belonged to Pedrosa and Rossi. The pair quickly built a huge advantage over the rest of the pack, lapping faster and faster as the race went on despite a few spots of rain falling mid-race. Pedrosa had taken the lead from Colin Edwards on lap two then rode wheel to wheel with Rossi until easing his pace in the final stages to secure second place.
“I'm very happy with today's result. We had been expecting a wet race, so to get second today is fantastic and it's 20 good points for the championship”, he explained. “I started a bit cautious during the early laps because I didn't know what the track conditions were like, but then Valentino and I began to set an extremely fast pace. Lap by lap our rhythm got faster. I had the advantage through the middle section of the track, he had the advantage through the first and last sections. My Michelin tyres were working really well and we were riding at lap record pace all through the race. The wind was very strong today, so my engine was over-revving, which is why I decided to ride a little more conservatively in the final laps to secure second place and the world championship lead.”
Going into this race the Spaniard had been joint leader of the World Championship, now he sits seven points ahead of Jorge Lorenzo with four of 18 races run.
Hayden made a great start from the fourth row of the grid and spent the race fighting back and forth with a number of rivals including Marco Melandri, Andrea Dovizioso, Colin Edwards and Lorenzo.
Down in eighth at one stage, he modified his lines and adjusted his traction control to fight back to take sixth during the final few laps.
“We knew starting tenth was never going to be easy. I crashed my number one bike in qualifying, then this morning I rode the other bike, so I started the race with the bike I'd crashed but it was fine. I got a really good start and a good first corner too, but I just couldn't go with the lead group today”, explained the Kentucky Kid. “We had a huge tailwind on the back straightaway, so I was running out of gear. It made it so hard to get it stopped for the corner at the end of the straight, so a lot of guys were running wide. Mid-race I had a few problems, felt a few drops of rain, and my corner speed in the long corners wasn't so good. Towards the end I changed a few little things with my lines and the traction control settings. I started to move forward and at the end I was going pretty good. There was a lot of good battling going on but it would've been better to have been battling for a better position. I didn't give up, kept pushing and picked off a few guys near the end.”