Nicky Hayden celebrated his first podium position as a Ducati MotoGP Team rider in the most fitting surroundings possible today, the ‘Kentucky Kid’ producing a sensational performance to finish third in his home race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Hayden secured his own little slice of history at the legendary circuit with a battling display, chasing down Alex de Angelis for second place after crashes for both Dani Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi at the front before consolidating third place with dogged defence under pressure from Andrea Dovizioso over the final two laps.
Mika Kallio, making his second of three appearances for the team as stand-in for regular rider Casey Stoner, also had reason to smile after a race in which he improved on his qualifying pace by six tenths of a second to secure a top ten finish in ninth place and give himself a welcome confidence boost before the series returns to Italian shores for the San Marino Grand Prix at Misano next weekend.
NICKY HAYDEN – (Ducati MotoGP Team) (3rd)
“It feels great to be on the podium here at Indianapolis and I want to thank all the team, my friends, family and fans for their support because this has been a tough season and I’ve needed every one of them. I was really careful at the start because I watched the 125cc race earlier on and the guy in my grid position made a jump start – it made me think that I really didn’t want to do that today! As a result I didn’t get a great start but I saw Lorenzo charge past a few guys, making a hole in the pack, so I tried to follow him. I pushed hard and in the middle of the race I went as fast as I have all weekend, but I didn’t have any more than that. Dovizioso came on strong at the end so I gave myself a little pep talk and made sure I was ready for whatever he had. He was going to have to come up with something special to keep me off the podium here at Indy! Thankfully I kept it together and brought it home. We don’t have long to the next race at Misano but I’m in the mood for a little party tonight. My buddies have seen the sun come up every day since Friday but hopefully they’ve got something left in the tank for me!”
MIKA KALLIO (Ducati MotoGP Team) (8th)
“We tried some different things with the suspension for the warm-up, which didn’t really work, but we tried something else for the race and it improved. I was able to push harder in the race in practice and my best lap in the race was actually even better than my qualifying time. That is a good thing but overall I’m still not too happy. My feeling with the bike isn’t perfect and for some reason my confidence is low. I don’t know why that is but it makes it hard to be consistent and easy to make small mistakes. The end position is not so bad but I think we could have been half a second quicker today and that would have moved us up some important positions. The goal for the next race is to find that half second and try to get my confidence back. To have at least finished the race after the recent bad luck is a boost and we will try to build on it at Misano.”
FILIPPO PREZIOSI – Ducati Corse General Director
“I want to congratulate Nicky because even in difficult times he has always believed in Ducati and he has never given up, working hard and staying focused. Without his feedback we would have never been able to work out a set-up to suit him and it is in this area, as well as in performance, where a rider makes the difference! I also want to thank Vitto (Guareschi) and all the guys at Ducati Corse, who have worked like Nicky – never losing heart. Casey, we’re waiting for you and we know you will be back even stronger than ever.”