The two Ducati MotoGP Team riders met with invited media individually after the race.
Fourth place finisher CASEY STONER had another understatement – “It has been a weekend to forget.”
“I’ve still got a bit of painkiller wearing off. I can’t be happy with fourth place even if it has limited the damage to my championship chances. Today I didn’t feel as bad at the end of the race as I have done in the other two, but I’m still not right. I really found it hard to concentrate and keep my focus in the last few laps, and I was in a bit of a daze at the end.
“Also, my left arm was feeling really tired at the end because of so many left-handers here, and my left wrist still doesn’t have the full range of movement after my operation last winter. I just couldn’t keep up. It was taking too much risk. My left arm just kept collapsing in every hard braking area. I was just useless in the braking points. My body wouldn’t go the right way. I was mad.
“I didn’t have the stomach cramps I had at the last two races. In that respect, I was a lot better at the end of this race. I didn’t lose energy like I did before.
“I’m really disappointed because without all of these problems, we could have done so much better. It’s so frustrating. I have a great bike and I can’t do jack on it. I want to thank my team for giving me a great bike and also Dr CLAUDIO MACCHIAGODENA and our physiotherapist FREDDIE DENTE for all their help.
“Now we’ll focus on trying to find out the root of the problem because racing in this condition is not much fun. Monday I go see Dr. TING, and test everything we can. We’re going to figure out something, so we don’t have to keep covering it up trying to get through it. It’s been covered, but there’s always some other issue.
“Quite a few people have suggested I might have Epstein-Barr or something, and I’ve had some doctors say no way. I’ve read that everyone has Epstein-Barr and if you don’t have enough rest, you get it. I’ve been traveling and racing and working out for years. But, it’s not the only possibility out there.
“If it is Epstein-Barr and rest is the only help, then I’ll get rested up during the long off season. I might have to back off in my training, traveling or something. But first, we need a diagnosis, and then take it from there.
“And yes, I’d like to have a quick fix and be ready to go for Germany.
“I’m very happy about NICKY (teammate NICKY HAYDEN finishing fifth). It was awesome., really good to see. These past few races have been a progression for him.”
Fifth place finisher, NICKY HAYDEN, is a laid-back Kentucky boy, who came up from the ranks of the American Motorcyclist Association in the United States. He has two younger brothers, ROGER and TOMMY, who raced in AMA this weekend at Laguna.
“I have won here twice, and to say that fifth place feels just as good might sound strange, but man, so much hard work has gone into getting us to this point, and I want to savor this feeling. To be racing at home, to score a solid result, and to have had fun out there is nice.
“I want to say a huge ‘thank you’ to my whole team, to Ducati, and to everybody who has continued to believe in me during some difficult times this season.
“The thought of not doing well at my home track literally had me sick to my stomach Friday. I wish I could have got by Tony (his teammate) and get in that front group and I think I could have moved up. It was my best qualifying and best race this year. I’m really happy. I’m making progress.”
Some instrumentation kept telling Hayden to slow down. “”I basically ran what I qualified in for 32 laps I wasn’t going to slow down and kept pushing him (Stoner) and finally it (the annoying instrumentation) gave up and went off. Riding this bike for 32 laps is a lot different than that Honda I had before. I was at my limit for the 45 minutes of the race.
“The latest stuff we tested were some electronics I hadn’t really used before. We went actually another step, but this week was the biggest improvement with the electronics.
“Being here at this track helped. I rode the bike. The closer I get and the faster I go the easier it gets. Except for my rookie year, this is the first year I’ve not been on podium at Laguna.”
“The tires start working better for me as the race wears on. I ran softs. I was 21 seconds from the front. I don’t really have a home track advantage any more. These guys (fellow competitors) aren’t beginners. Casey came here and led the first session. Even the last couple of races, I have made progress, steadily, especially from Barcelona on. I hope we’re on our way. By the time we get to Indy, I hope to get some hardware there.
“My riding style is different from Casey, so I can’t do everything Casey does. He”s a lot littler than he actually looks.
“I was pretty confident in the soft front tire here. I did 32 laps on softs this morning, but they weren’t consecutive. I could brake harder. In Turns One, Two, Nine and Ten I was on the edge. I crashed trail braking into Turn Seven. With this bike (Ducati) you gotta brake a lot, and I have to get used to it. You have to stay on the brakes to keep it turning. I’ll have moments on the track when I almost crash, and then I watch it on TV and it’s nothing.”
Ducati North America unveiled a new special, limited edition 848 Nicky Hayden middleweight sport bike to be sold only in the United States. The livery matches the patriotic graphics Hayden had on his Laguna motorcycle. “There will be 100 bikes made like mine, so that’s cool.. so this finish really had some meaning behind it.”