MotoGP > MotoGP 2005 Round 08: U.S.A. GP > Press Release
MotoGPU.S.A.July 5, 2005
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 8
U.S.A. Grand Prix at Laguna Seca
Nicky Hayden at Laguna Seca
Through the back door in '94 - Red Carpet entrance in 2005

Nobody was as thrilled as Repsol Honda's Nicky Hayden to hear the news that the US GP had been added to the MotoGP calendar for the 2005 season. The race scheduled on July 10 at the Laguna Seca circuit, brings GP racing back to the US for the first time since 1994.

Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)

"I was a little surprised when they said we were going to Laguna, I didn't believe it till I saw it on the official schedule. For Americans Daytona and Laguna Seca mean as much as Mugello and Assen mean for Europeans, they are special." Hayden said. "Some people think the US is not ready for MotoGP but they don't realise how fast these things are. But it seems to be catching on, if it goes well we will be back there racing."

Laguna Seca holds fond memories for Hayden, one of three brothers from Owensboro Kentucky who all race motorcycles professionally. The Kentuckian scored his first ever AMA road race victory at the circuit taking the chequered flag in the SS750 in 1998. He went on to win 35 AMA National races and two national championships, his first the SS600 in 1999 followed three years later by the prestigious Superbike title. With nothing to more to prove on home ground Hayden moved on to MotoGP racing in 2003.

"I always enjoyed the track and the atmosphere, there is a lot of hype around the race. I'm looking forward to racing at home again the last time was Virginia in 2002. I've always had good times at Laguna Seca, even in testing. Our tests were usually wet so we spent a lot of time in Monterrey, or the breakfast shop!"

However, off track fun in down town Monterrey cannot compare with the satisfaction of racing on the technically demanding 3.602km circuit situated in and around the dry lake from which it takes its name. The track tops Hayden list of all time favourites.

"The track has a good mix of corners. Turn 1 isn't a real corner but its on the crest of a hill and the bike goes light but you have to get it slowed for turn 2 which is a double apex where you sort of let the bike drift out then pull it back to line up the right hand turn 3. I really like turn 4 it's a fast right probably the only corner you really work the tyre hard. You leave the infield section on a quick left, which used to be a dangerous corner but it’s got a good run off now." "It leads up the hill to my all time favourite corner, the Corkscrew. It's an incredible feeling when you tip it in, left, right then another left with the track dropping away from you all the way. It's amazing. Down hill from the corkscrew can be pretty hard on the front end but if you get the combination from the corkscrew down through turns 9 and 10 you can make up a lot of time. But when the front goes off late in the race it's real difficult to hold your line through 9 and 10. The last turn is slow left where a lot of guys have won races with late braking moves. I can't wait to get there."  said the Repsol Honda teamster.

The race organizers were obliged to make changes to the track layout for reasons of safety. The first two corners have had safety upgrades as has turn 9, while run off areas have been extended. Hayden has yet to ride the new track but is confident he will quickly get dialled in to the new layout.

He said. "I don't think it will be much different for me, or the other American riders in the race. We should have a slight advantage over the other guys in first practice but it will be business as usual come qualifying time. "

Laguna Seca will also feature a round of the AMA Championship where brothers Tommy and Roger Lee will contest the SS600 race continuing their season long duel at the top of the points table.

"The whole family is coming," grinned Hayden. "My parents, sisters, uncles and cousins. I'm lucky, and it's an honor to have the chance to race a GP in front of your family and friends, and a lot of people I haven't seen since I started in GP's. I have to enjoy it. "

Enjoy it he will but his main focus will be getting his five-cylinder 990cc Honda RC211V prepared to race on Sunday. After a slow start to the season Hayden has recovered and scored his best result of the season last time out with fourth place at the Dutch Grand Prix at Assen. He will have nothing less then a podium finish in mind when he goes to the line on Sunday.

"Ever since I was a kid I dreamt of riding in a GP at home and now it's nearly here and I'm stoked. In fact I can really remember the last GP here. Me and my brother did this kinda' road trip - guess I was about 11. We sneaked in - no passes, any of that stuff and had a ball. I'm so pleased that it all came together to get the race here. I know a lotta' people have worked real hard to make this happen. I just hope we can put on a good show. I haven't seen the track since I was last here but hear that they've made a few changes to the kerbing and put in some big gravel areas that should make a little safer. There's going to a whole load of support this weekend - for me and for my brothers racing in AMA - I just hope so much this is a race to remember for all the right reasons and not one to forget!"

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