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Podium for Nicky Hayden at Laguna with van der Mark a close fourth

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Nicky Hayden has crossed the line in third place at the end of a hard-fought, 25-lap opening World Superbike race in front of his home crowd at Laguna Seca. In doing so, the experienced American rider has claimed the third podium of his rookie WorldSBK season. Michael van der Mark was right behind his Honda WorldSBK team mate in fourth, after a great recovery from eleventh place on the grid.

Hayden got a great launch from row two and was fifth at the exit of turn one; while keeping a solid pace, he was promoted first to fourth and then to third as the two Ducati riders Davies and Giugliano crashed out of contention on lap five and thirteen, respectively. The 34-year-old from Owensboro, Kentucky, brilliantly held on to the final step of the podium despite the pressure from Alex Lowes and, in the final two laps of the race, by a resurgent van der Mark.

The young Dutchman was able to make up several positions in the early stages despite a small mistake on lap one and, as the race entered its second half, he joined the battle for third place. With a spectacular overtake on Lowes at turn two at the start of the penultimate lap, van der Mark moved up to fourth and set his sights on his team mate; he then dived on the inside of Hayden at the last hairpin, eventually running wide.

The second and last World Superbike race of the US round will get underway tomorrow at 14:30 local time (GMT -7), after the traditional 15-minute warm up scheduled at 11:00.

 

Podium for Nicky Hayden at Laguna with van der Mark a close fourth

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