In his defense, however, Stoner argued that the Kentuckian lost momentum – following some pretty impressive performances in offseason testing – after his high speed crash during the Losail qualifying, which apparently left deeper marks on Hayden's morale than expected.
Also, the unfortunate incident in Japan, when he was thrown out of the race following a stupid mistake by rookie Yuki Takahashi, didn't help the American either in recovering his form. Finally, he had to struggle with full fuel load problems and tire wear on his GP9 in the early stages of the Spanish Grand Prix, which eventually ruined his entire race.
“He's struggled with confidence of late. These last two races have been a disaster for him, and not really his fault. He made the mistake in Qatar and crashed. For sure that's a big blow to your confidence and then of course Takahashi took him out. There are maybe just a few things he needs to get over,” argued the 2007 world champion.
Stoner also insisted that Hayden is better that what he has shown in the 2009 series so far, with his testing performance this winter a clear testimony of that.
“We've seen him be very competitive up in the top five (in testing) and getting more comfortable on the bike, and then those things hit, and that put a backwards step in his stride. Hopefully we can see him start to bounce back,” added the Australian, currently second overall in the riders' standings.