At the start of the race, facing the business end of the field, Hayes couldn’t hear his own motorcycle. He let the clutch out too quickly and bogged the engine. But he picked up four spots when Suzuki’s Alvaro Bautista knocked down the Ducatis of Hayden, Rossi and Randy de Puniet in Turn 1, passed two more by the end of the first lap and then spent the rest of the race trading blows with Nakasuga. Track conditions were constantly changing, and when rain hit hard with five laps to go, Toni Elias and Loris Capirossi “either had major problems or just gave up,” said Hayes. “We caught them really fast.” Then, Czech rookie Karel Abraham ran off and tipped over in the gravel, gifting Hayes another position. He finished seventh.