Nicky Hayden had a glorious weekend at Laguna Seca. He rode superbly, and certainly deserved the win. Nevertheless, you cannot escape the fact that Hayden had a huge advantage over several rivals.
Valentino Rossi had never ridden at Laguna Seca before last Friday. By contrast, Hayden has hundreds of laps at this track of combined racing and practice. You could argue that this advantage is amplified by the unique features of the track, including the famed corkscrew. This win must have boosted Hayden’s confidence, and he may well be a more consistent podium finisher from this point forward. Nevertheless, repeating his performance at Laguna Seca on a track familiar to all of the riders, including Rossi, will be much more difficult. It will be interesting to see what happens.