September 11, 2012  |   By Paul Kelly

Healing Hayden Returns To Ducati MotoGP Seat This Weekend

American Nicky Hayden will return to his Ducati GP12 this weekend for the Grand Prix of San Marino MotoGP World Championship race after missing the last two events due to injury.

2006 World Champion Hayden, from Owensboro, Ky., missed the Red Bull Indianapolis GP on Aug. 19 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Grand Prix of the Czech Republic on Aug. 26 due to a broken right hand and concussion suffered during a vicious high-side crash in qualifying at Indianapolis.

Hayden will test the strength in his right hand during practice Friday, Sept. 13 at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli before the team decides on his remaining participation, including qualifying Saturday, Sept. 15 and the race Sunday, Sept. 16.

“I can’t wait to get back on the track, but I know that it won’t be easy this weekend,” Hayden said.

“My hand is improving and one of the two fractures is healing quickly, while the other metacarpal still has a pretty good fracture line. I’ve been able to keep up with my cardio training, and of course I’ve been doing the normal rehab, including a visit to Dr. Ting in California.

“Braking on these MotoGP bikes puts a lot of stress on the right hand, particularly on a clockwise circuit like Misano.”

Misano, located in Italy on the Adriatic Sea, is one of two home tracks for the Italian Ducati team. The other is Mugello, site of the annual Italian Grand Prix. Misano also is just a few miles from the home of Hayden’s Ducati teammate, seven-time MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi.

“Racing at one of Ducati’s home tracks is something that I enjoy, and I certainly hope to be able to do the race,” Hayden said. “We’ve got a couple of things stacked against us, but we’ll see if we can put up a solid result and kick off a new positive stretch at Misano.”

Hayden is ninth in the World Championship standings despite missing two races. His best finish this season is sixth at Qatar, France, the Netherlands and the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif.