MotoGP: Facing further surgery, Hayden still aims to race in Catalunya
Nicky Hayden faces further surgery after revealing he is suffering from painful arthritis in his right hand.
Hayden’s victory in the 2006 MotoGP World Championship was the last by an American rider, yet his 2014 season has turned into a nightmare with on-going issues with his right wrist and hand.
Hayden’s hand and wrist lacks the range of motion for two crucial areas of bike racing – controlling the throttle and front brake operation – both performed with the right hand.
He will attempt to ride through the pain barrier and complete this weekend’s schedule at the Catalunya Grand Prix in Barcelona with the Gresini Honda Team.
Hayden, 32, had surgery 10 days ago in Italy after being unable to race in Mugello, but now faces further corrective surgery.
He was able to complete both of Friday’s free practice sessions in advance of Sunday’s race in Barcelona, and is hopeful of racing.
"I’ll see how I feel Saturday morning but it is possible to do the weekend unless I wake up with any problems after riding today," Hayden said.
"Nothing is ever 100 percent, so see how I go. The surgery went better than I expected and the hand is less swollen. I didn’t think it would be possible to ride here.
"The range of motion to open the gas is not great and also on the brakes, but also I am not riding great in other areas so it is not all related to my hand."
Hayden finished 19th overall in Friday free practice.
But when asked by SPEED what the main long term issue was, Hayden revealed that his outstanding career in dirt track, AMA Superbikes and MotoGP had taken its toll.
"The big problem is I have arthritis in the hand bone," Hayden said.
"The doctor had seen the scans so he wasn’t surprised when he did the surgery last week but officially I’ll probably have to have bigger surgery, maybe at the end of the season."
There is now no margin for physical restrictions in MotoGP in the era of 1000cc, 260 horsepower bikes weighing 160 kilograms and capable of top speeds of 350 kph.
Hayden’s enthusiasm and dedication to bike racing is without question, but he admits that his struggles with this latest injury over the past seven months has tested his resolve.
"I don’t feel great, who wants to be in this position, being injured and maybe missing races and not being at the maximum on the bike?" he said.
"It is not a dream season, that’s how it goes, you just have to stay positive."