Nicky Hayden Reaches 200 GP Milestone, Honda Silent about Casey Stoner

It's going to be a fiery weekend for Aspar rider Nicky Hayden at the Circuit of the Americas, as the Kentucky Kid will take his 200th GP start of the career. Reaching this impressive milestone will also set him apart from the rest of the field, as he will join the select ranks of 200 GP riders. This means he will now "play" in the same league with Valentino Rossi, Alex Barros and Loris Capirossi.
Nicky Hayden at Losail, Qatar, 2015 1 photo
Even though this is not his favorite American circuit, Hayden declared that he is only looking at the future and is trying to make the best of the new motorcycle Honda provided for his team.

The last-standing American rider in the premier class

After 40-year-old Colin "Texas Tornado" Edwards decided to hang his leathers last year, Hayden remains the last American rider in MotoGP. At 33, he says that he's quite happy to have overcome the wrist problems that affected his riding during the last couple of years and that he still has a lot to give.

Hayden is also openly speaking about his hopes that a "young buck" will arrive in MotoGP and continue the American presence in the top racing series.

Despite the disappointing results in the season debut round in Qatar, Hayden says the new engine is a lot more powerful. However, there is still a lot of work to do in the electronics department, to make the bike perform better when the tires start degrading.

Deathlike silence at HRC after Stoner was denied a ride at COTA, replacing recovering Dani Pedrosa

There IS something brewing at HRC after Livio Suppo announced that Honda test rider Hiroshi Aoyama would substitute for Dani Pedrosa at the Circuit of the Americas this weekend. HRC Vice President, who used to be very vocal and speak very openly about Casey Stoner on each occasion, is almost unnaturally reserved this time.

We reported on how Casey Stoner expressed his slight disappointment in a message he posted on his Twitter account earlier. His own words were self-explanatory: "Sorry to everyone but I am not racing @circuitamericas next weekend, it would have been an honour to ride for @26_DaniPedrosa #NotMeantToBe."

After this message sort of spilled the beans, HRC officials admitted that there had been certain discussions with Stoner, but which did not come to fruition the way he (and his fans) hoped.

We also ran a story on how this was maybe a very ill-timed moment for Stoner to express his willingness to race a MotoGP bike once more. It's true that Stoner has never raced at COTA or Termas de Rio Hondo, Argentina, but hearing him say " I want to race in the premier class once more" is what we could rightfully name a "historic moment".

Whether HRC strategy gurus are burning the midnight oil to make the best of this moment or not is anyone's guess. Some folks say that Honda is preparing to have Stoner on Pedrosa's bike in the Argentinian round, as the Spaniard will most likely not ne recovered until then.

Meanwhile, Stoner, who is returning from a fishing trip in Patagonia (southern Argentina), has not posted anything related to a MotoGP ride on Twitter, fueling the wild imagination of racing fans, who claim this is only the calm before the storm. Stay tuned.
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