Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport -

It is not out­landish to think that tak­ing four podi­ums within the first ten rounds in his rookie WSB season, in­clud­ing a win in Malaysia, was ex­ceed­ing ex­pec­ta­tions of what even former Mo­togp cham­pion Nicky Hay­den could do.

But on Satur­day Hay­den took a strong third on his Honda Fire­blade, and came close to fin­ish­ing sec­ond after hunt­ing down Sykes.

“I said yes­ter­day that maybe fifth or sixth was the best we could ex­pect in the dry,” said Hay­den after his bril­liant race one re­sult.

“We started the day with me on the ground, in the wet FP3 ses­sion. So it was im­por­tant to have a good team and stay calm, stay fo­cused. The bike worked re­ally well, es­pe­cially on brak­ing. I wanted to catch Tom and beat him be­cause he is the champ, so it would have been nice to beat him and give the fans a lit­tle show.”

Thanks to test­ing, Hay­den thinks that with more for­tune in the early laps he could have taken Sykes’ scalp. He said: “Kawasaki nor­mally set the bar. They did not test here and that gave ev­ery­body a lit­tle edge. Maybe if to­day had have been dry and we’d an­other 15 min­utes qual­i­fy­ing in the dry we’d have been a prob­lem for them.

“Right now the group is pretty close that I am rac­ing in, so those cou­ple of tenths we gained in test­ing are very im­por­tant.”

Hay­den had a hor­ri­ble sec­ond race in the rain find­ing no feel­ing and fin­ish­ing tenth, al­most a minute down on Rea’s win. ■ Hay­den’s Mo­togp call up, p67

‘I wanted to catch Tom and beat him to give the fans a show be­cause he is the champ’ NICKY HAY­DEN

Hay­den showed his Mo­togp class on the age­ing Blade

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