Nicky Hayden will start Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez from seventh place on the grid, his best qualifying position thus far this season. The American’s quickest lap was a 1:39.6, less than a second slower than the pole-winning time of reigning MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo. Hayden’s factory Ducati teammate, Andrea Dovizioso, will start ninth, on the opposite side of the third row.
“Well, considering the first two races, qualifying went pretty good,” said Hayden. “We’re very close to the second row, which was my goal. Seventh is a big improvement.
“In Qatar, I had a lot of chatter. At the start of qualifying, I had to come straight in and change tires. We thought it was related to the tire, but then, in Austin, I had a bunch of chatter and had to come straight in. Turns out, it was a cracked rear wheel—the same wheel both times. Today, I was able to enjoy it and not have any issues.”
Hayden described qualifying at Jerez as “intense.” He said, “We’re in Spain, first race in Europe, it’s qualifying and everybody’s pushing hard on a greasy track. In those hot conditions, the front was moving a lot.
“Hopefully, I can put up a pretty good fight tomorrow.”
Hayden finished eighth at the Losail Circuit in Qatar and ninth at Circuit of The Americas. He’s currently eighth overall in points.