Nicky Hayden’s struggles with his wrist injury continued during qualifying with the American only able to set the 22nd fastest time in the session, almost 0.8s slower than the fastest Open Honda. Hayden, who underwent surgery on his wrist after Mugello, was clearly disappointed when he spoke to the media after qualifying but accepted that the majority of the time difference was down to him:
“It wasn’t a good day for me obviously,” admitted Hayden. “In FP4 we improved a bit and could do 35.9 on used tyres but in qualifying we made too many mistakes. There’s not a lot to say, the bike isn’t perfect and I’m not perfect, but to qualify 22nd is unacceptable and I’ve got to take most of the responsibility for that and I need to do a lot better tomorrow.”
When asked what were the major difficulties that he faced Hayden pointed to turning and it’s clear that his injury is hampering him around the Dutch track:
“I can’t get the bike to turn, especially in the banked corners and when I open the gas, I just can’t hold the line and I push wide. I made some mistakes on laps but nothing ridiculous. The [lack of] top speed doesn’t help but on this track with this straightaway we shouldn’t be losing as much. In acceleration out of the banked corners you need power but I’m one second slower than the other Honda’s so the biggest problem today was the rider. All these high speed changes of direction doesn’t help but I don’t want to rattle off a list of excuses. Wrist or bike I need to do a better job.”
It is Hayden’s worst qualifying since his MotoGP debut in the 2003 Japanese Grand Prix where he also lined up 22nd on the grid and went on to finish 7th in the race.