Nicky Hayden has always used...
Nicky Hayden has always used his older brother as a sounding board for everything from technical to professional issues, so he's always there to support Tommy whenever he has a break from the MotoGP schedule.
He also doesn't think it will impact his attendance at the GPs, where he is his brother's closest confidante. Tommy has always been a sounding board for Nicky, regardless of the issue. Whether it's technical or professional, the tight-knit family thinks as one. When he has the chance, he travels with Nicky, debriefing after the tests and races, poring over the data that Nicky brings back and watching replays of the races. When he's not with Nicky, Tommy tries to watch as much as he can on his laptop. His is an analytical mind that understands racing as much as anyone in the paddock. When he doesn't have a recorder in his face, he's as voluble as anyone, but becomes more reserved on the record. Earl Hayden taught all of his sons to be approachable in the best and worst of times, and Tommy is no different.
Nicky was right there at Fontana...
Nicky was right there at Fontana to share in his brother's joy at finally winning an AMA Superbike race. The Hayden clan is very tight-knit and supportive of each other.
As similar as they are, they're also quite different. Nicky is more expressive, Tommy more reserved, with youngest brother Roger Lee somewhere in the middle. The differences between Nicky and Tommy were on vivid display at Laguna Seca last year. Tommy had jumped the start and was put on the back row. Then came the pace car debacle, when race officials sent the car into the path of the Superbike field as they were cresting turn one flat out. Nicky was livid, his outburst seen live on the Dorna feed; Mladin screamed and cursed at race officials. Meanwhile, Tommy sat placidly on the pit wall. "I wasn't happy about it, but we still had to race," he now says. "I mean, what were we going to do at that point? The car had already pulled out in front of everybody. I definitely wasn't happy about it, but I still had to race and things like that. Afterwards I wanted to talk to them and wanted to discuss that issue, but I mean, at the time, I don't see how jumping up and down and yelling could've helped me when the race started." Also weighing on his mind was his jump start, "because I felt pretty fast there and thought I had a good chance to win and kinda blew that. Lots of different emotions."
Hayden looked like he had...
Hayden looked like he had the second superbike race at Daytona in his pocket coming out of the chicane on the last lap, but ended up getting nipped at the line by National Guard Suzuki's Jake Zemke by a gnat's eyelash.
When the 2010 season began, Graves Motorsports Yamaha's Josh Hayes was the presumptive favorite. Then a fried clutch in the first race at Daytona put him out and suddenly the field was wide open. Jake Zemke stepped up on the National Guard Suzuki to take a win in his very first outing on a chilly Thursday afternoon in Daytona. The race was close; the top five finishers-Zemke, Hayden, Foremost Insurance Ducati's Larry Pegram, Jordan Suzuki's Aaron Yates, and Young-were covered by .307 seconds. Zemke won the race by taking the unconventional approach of leading out of the chicane for the long run to the finish line.
The next day Hayden tried the same tactic. Leading out of the chicane, he looked to be on his way to winning his first race when he felt the pull of Zemke from behind. "At Daytona you feel it," Hayden said of the effect of the draft. "It's hard to hear it; there's so much noise from speed and stuff. But you can feel it." The difference at the stripe was .009 seconds. And once again Hayden was the runner-up.
Hayden (22) was always in...
Hayden (22) was always in the thick of the battle for the lead in both races at Daytona, but despite his best efforts, he ended up just off the top step of the podium each time.
"I wanted to win, I tried everything to win," he said. "Could've went either way. Just lost in the drafting battle there. I wouldn't change anything [except] try to get more of a gap on the last lap. I was riding pretty hard. I did a pretty fast lap. We were just a little short there. We weren't quite ready, I don't think, for top speed as much as we should've been." Hayden said it was a combination of engine power in the wrong place and gearing. "With the rules, just a lot of compromise with what we have now. We can move power around and stuff pretty easy. It's not easy to gain power, but we can move it around. I think we kind of made a little mistake there."
"I knew I [had a] race in two weeks, so [it was] a little easier to get over," he said of the two races. "I mean I still did all I could do. I don't know what I could've done different. Wasn't going to do any good to mope around and pout about it. So I just tried to concentrate on getting ready for Fontana."
As part of the dominant Yoshimura...
As part of the dominant Yoshimura wrecking crew from '07-'09, Hayden often completed the podium behind seven-time AMA Superbike champion Mat Mladin and two-time AMA Superbike champion Ben Spies.
Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, is the home track for a number of teams, including Yoshimura Suzuki. The team tested there twice during the off-season, and last year Hayden finished a close second to Mladin in both races. This was a track where he knew he could do some damage.