Ducati came dangerously close to having both of the riders involved in a very costly accident during the United States Grand Prix at Laguna Seca.
Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso battled throughout the 32 lap race having lost touch with the leading group and being able to pull away from the CRT bikes. With only a handful of laps remaining however their fight led to contact on the start finish straight on the way to turn one with Dovizioso hitting Hayden’s bike and damaging the clutch lever:
“He was going fast but I felt faster in a couple of places and put a clean move on him but then on the front straight I was coming inside and he hooked my handlebar,” said Hayden. “Everyone has said that ‘it looked close’ but if it looks close…it feels double close! I was able to save it but when I got to turn two the foldable clutch lever was closed and I couldn’t back-shift so I did that corner in fourth gear and Dovi passed me and pulled away. I knocked the clutch back into position but it wasn’t right afterwards.”
The incident was one of the main talking points following the race and afterwards Dovizioso admitted that the fault lay at his feet:
“I pushed for 30 laps but the exciting point was when we hit on the last few laps,” said Dovizioso. “It was 60:40 my mistake. At that time you can see that me and Nicky didn’t have our front wheel on the ground and at that point I decided to go to the right and take the racing line and Nicky went a little to the left. Without the front on the ground we both hit. It’s not good and it’s better if it doesn’t happen but it wasn’t intentional.”
The incident comes after the pair enjoyed a spirited battle at Assen but afterwards Hayden called the incident “just racing” however the American did admit that he may have to change his approach to racing his teammate in future.
“He obviously races pretty aggressive so I’ve just got to be prepared for that in future.”