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Jul 17, 2008

Tommy And Roger Hayden Return, Will Ride Superbikes Only This Weekend At Laguna Seca

Brothers Tommy and Roger Hayden will return to racing action this weekend during the AMA/MotoGP event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, but the brothers will only ride their respective Superbikes and will not race their Supersport machines.

Both men are coming back from serious injuries. Monster Energy Kawasaki's Roger Hayden suffered fractures to his pelvis and lower back and finger injuries, including the amputation of the little finger on his left hand, when he was hit by Robertino Pietri April 19 at Barber Motorsports Park. Rockstar Makita Yoshimura Suzuki's Tommy Hayden suffered internal injuries and bone fractures and ligament damage to his left lower leg when he was hit by Martin Cardenas April 27 at Auto Club Speedway.

The brothers got a chance to evaluate their injuries when they tested, with their respective teams, July 9, at Willow Springs International Raceway.

"It went pretty good," Roger Hayden, the reigning AMA Supersport Champion. "It was kind of hot out there that day, but it was mainly just to knock a lot of the rust off. It felt really good to be back on the bike again. It takes a little bit to get used to riding without the finger there. But all in all, it was a fun day, and I enjoyed it. I'm just lucky enough that Kawasaki gave me the opportunity to go out there and ride. I feel fortunate that I got to go do some laps before I came here."

"I just had a test to see if I could go this week," said Tommy Hayden. "It went OK. I'm not 100%, but I think I'm good enough to give it a try and see how it goes here."

Tommy Hayden said his main issue was flexibility in his leg and ankle. "That's what I'm working on now," said the eldest Hayden brother, "quick movements, trying to move my foot around and getting my mind connected back to my foot. Sometimes the signals aren't exactly connected. When you have something immobilized that long you get that, but it comes back pretty quick."

Asked about only riding his ZX-10R Superbike at Laguna Seca, Roger Hayden explained, "Yeah, just because I'm coming back. The Superbike looks like it's coming along. That's the premier AMA class and we want to keep making the bike better. While I've been hurt Jamie's been doing a great job. I think he's podiumed well over half the races. We definitely want to keep improving. Superbike is the main class, and if we can only do one class Superbike is the one I want to ride."

While Roger Hayden may return to racing his ZX-6R Supersport bike later this season, Tommy Hayden will focus only on his GSX-R1000 Superbike for the remainder of 2008.

"I'm not riding the 600 anymore," said Tommy Hayden, a two-time AMA Supersport Champion.

Roger Hayden has made an addition to his bike's number plate, adding a decimal point between the 9 and the 5.

"Just because of my hand," said Roger Hayden. "Somebody said you ought to put a decimal there, for 9.5 fingers. So that's what they did. I think it's kind of funny really."