Hayden Hails Greatest Performance with Ducati in Qatar

Nicky Hayden admitted that his 4th place in Qatar last weekend was the performance he feels most proud of since becoming a Ducati rider at the beginning of 2009. The Kentucky Kid scored a single podium finish with Ducati last year, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but it seems he wouldn't rate that performance past his strong finish at Losail.

The Ducati rider was on the verge of scoring his second podium with Ducati last Sunday, but was passed by Honda's Andrea Dovizioso on the last straight and eventually had to settle for 4th place (only 0.011 seconds behind). If it weren't for Honda's impressive straight line speed, the North American would have gotten off to a great start in his 2010 campaign.

Man! I really didn't expect to be so tough in the race but the team made a couple of small changes that made a huge difference and right from the warm-up lap I felt good,” said Hayden, who admitted that he feels a little bit disappointed with not being able to hang on to his 3rd place at the end of the last lap.

If you offered me fourth place, two seconds behind Rossi, before the race I would have taken it but to be so close to the podium and not actually up there... it hurts. Still, it's a long season and there are a lot of opportunities ahead of us,” added Hayden, who was passed by both Andrea Dovizioso and Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo in the last 2 laps.

By comparison, his highly-rated teammate Casey Stoner crashed out of the race after only 5 laps, despite having already built a comfortable lead up front. The Ducatis were obviously favorites for the win at Losail, as Stoner had won the last 3 editions of the Qatar GP prior to the 2010 race.
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