Nicky Hayden’s championship chances took a blow Sunday as his team-mate Dani Pedrosa made a mistake and crashed taking him with him too.
Though obviously very disappointed to have lost his lead in the World Championship, the 25-year-old American star goes to the final round at Valencia still in with a chance of taking the title. He now sits eight points behind Valentino Rossi, who finished in second place.
Afterwards Pedrosa went to Hayden’s motorhome to apologise and the Repsol Honda riders shook hands. Pedrosa suffered a small fracture in the little finger on his left hand but should be fit to ride at the next race.
Nicky Hayden: “I don’t know what to say really – it just hurts. I had a really hard tyre on for the race, especially for the left handers, and it came in and I couldn’t believe how comfortable I felt in the first few laps.
I was a lot faster than Edwards and I’d just made up my mind that I’d pass him right there on the brakes and I felt I could go and see what Valentino had. I don’t expect Dani to pull over and let me by but I definitely didn’t expect him to do that. We’re professionals and Dani did come to my motorhome and talk to me afterwards and we shook hands. I’ve proved this weekend that I wasn’t going to give up without a fight and even now I believe I’m pretty strong. This was not one of my best tracks and I’ve come here and gone quick – I was fastest in one session, got on the front row and had a good race pace. I need Dani’s help now because anything could happen in Valencia, so I hope his hand’s ok. I told him there’s a way to make it up to me and that’s if we run one-two in Valencia then the championship’s still possible. It’s racing.”
Dani Pedrosa: “What can I say? I made a mistake and I’m really sorry. It’s the first time I’ve hit another rider in my career – it’s never happened before in practice or racing in six years and it’s happened at the worst moment that I could do it. Obviously I’m very unhappy and Nicky is not happy and I just want to apologize because I made a mistake. I said sorry to Nicky and I can understand that he is very upset – I wish I could change it. I didn’t want to pass him at that moment. I braked and my rear wheel came off the ground and then it touched the ground again, I got a little more speed. I couldn’t stop the bike and there was nowhere to go. I have a fracture in my little finger but we have time for it to be ok for Valencia.”