His Thursday confirmation of signing for Aspar meant that Nicky Hayden has no doubts about his plans for next season and the American celebrated with his best result since the Italian Grand Prix by finishing seventh at Philip Island.
Speaking after the race, which required a change of bikes due to adverse tyre wear, the “Kentucky Kid” looked at the race as an opportunity for the sport to grow. Speaking afterwards he said that he felt Bridgestone were to blame but given their usual excellence he was reluctant to be too critical:
“People can complain or look for reasons to complain but I think that it was exciting and I’m sure more people watched than normal. It was a shame that we had the tyre problems but Bridgestone should have really come here and tested; there’s no doubt about that. But to be fair since I’ve been a Bridgestone rider this is the first time that we’ve had this problem.”
Hayden battled with Bradley Smith mid race. Ultimately with the Yamaha rider on a faster bike it was a relatively easy victory for the Yamaha rider and Hayden eventually finished four seconds behind the English rider. Hayden was a similar distance ahead of the Ducati’s of Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso after pit strategy allowed the American to jump ahead:
“The pit strategy probably worked out in my favour. I had been stuck racing with Dovi and Iannone but I couldn’t get away from them because of the draft so I waited and did the opposite of what they did. When they came into the pits I just put my head down and a really quick in lap and was able to pull a good gap. I caught Bradley but he picked up his pace right as my tyre was going away.”
With the race shortened to 19 laps after the morning warmup Hayden had completed the session expecting to have to complete 14 laps on the hard tyres during the race. The Ducati rider was one of only three riders to complete a stint of more than 12 laps on one set of tyres during the session and it was clear just why the organisers felt the need to shorten the race again:
“The grip didn’t really go down a whole lot but we only did ten laps. The first drop was after three laps which is normal. I didn’t see a tyre cut open but this morning my tyre was really bad. I had chunks taken out of it. I didn’t stop and did 13 laps on it at a decent pace and on the last lap I had to slow down because it was chunking.”