Engine woes for Nicky Hayden could force pitlane start

nicky-hayden-sepang-motogp-fp3-2013An engine failure at the Malaysian Grand Prix has left Nicky Hayden in a perilous position for the remainder of the 2013 season.

The American, who had switched to his freshest engine for today’s race, retired on lap eight with his Ducati smoking on the front straight after what had been a promising weekend. Hayden had made a strong start and was pleased with his early race progress having started the race from 11th on the grid:

“It wasn’t a good day for us and it’s a real shame because this weekend we have gone better,” said Hayden. “I messed up qualifying by riding too conservatively in the wet parts but I was fast in FP4 and was sixth in the warmup and the closest I’ve been to the front in recent races. The race wasn’t going spectacular but it was better than the last ones and we were pulling away from Dovi and closing up on Smith when I had an engine failure.”

nicky-hayden-2-sepang-motogp-fp3-2013Hayden was given warning about his impending failure but having just come up close behind Bradley Smith he had some hope that the issue was with the Tech3 rider rather than his own machine:

“It was making some bad noises and I had just caught Smith at the last corner and I heard a noise. It was the closest I’d been to him in the whole race so I hoped that maybe it was his bike but when I opened the bike on the exit it was clear that it was smoking and the engine was done. We’ve looked at the engine but don’t have the tools to look into it so we’ll send it back to Bologna and see what happened.”

nicky-hayden-sepang-motogp-fp4-2013When asked about the status of his engines for the rest of the year Hayden said that the team needed to analyse the mileage but admitted that they couldn’t rule out starting from the pitlane at one of the remaining races:

“It was my freshest engine and it’s unfortunate and we just can’t catch a break at the moment. At Philip Island we’ll have to put in an older engine but it was already high mileage so it’s not good. Starting from pitlane is a possibility but we’ll obviously look at what we have available. I’ve used all my engines so we’ll go back and see the mileage on them. I was hoping to get to the end of the season on these two engines. I know I’ve got one engine with some life but I don’t know if it’s enough to do three more races. I’d hate for it to be Philip Island to start from pitlane because it’s one of my favourite tracks.”

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