American MotoGP star Nicky Hayden is confirmed to ride for the Ducati factory team after signing a 1 year contract covering next season.
After much speculation during the MotoGP ‘silly season’ Nicky Hayden, who celebrates his 31st birthday on Monday, was given something to celebrate when the announcement safeguarding his future was announced, although who his team mate will be in 2013 is still open for speculation.
The 2006 world champion has been a loyal member of the Ducati team since making the move from Honda in 2009, after riding for the Japanese manufacturer for 10 years over various championships.
The ‘Kentucky Kid’, currently in his tenth MotoGP season and the highest placed American rider in the championship standings heading into the Laguna Seca race weekend,spoke of his enthusiasm to continue working with Ducati on the Desmosedici next year in his teams press release:
“I’m very happy that I’ll be back with Ducati and back in MotoGP, racing at the highest level for a very important team. I love the guys I work with, I love the Ducati fans, and I love the brand. This is an important time for Ducati in a number of ways, and I’m excited that I’ll continue to be a part of it. I feel like I’ve got some unfinished business here, and hopefully we can get all the pieces into place and reap the rewards of the hard work we’ve put in the last couple of years. It’s nice to be able to make this announcement at Laguna and to share the moment with my fans, friends and family. If I can do a good result on Sunday, it could make for a pretty special birthday weekend.”
Personally I feel it would be a shame for such a talented rider and interesting character not to be present in the MotoGP paddock, although I can see the viewpoint which would argue that someone needs to make way for some new blood, I believe Hayden still has the ability to do well, he has finished ahead of current team mate Valentino Rossi, arguably the greatest of all time, four times this season, and works wonders on a Ducati that has been notoriously hard to ride (and back in the day did goodness knows what to Marco Melandri’s head). It would be good to see the American reap some rewards next year for the time and perseverance he has put in at Ducati, plus it means any future posts about ‘Hayden on a Ducati’ will not have to feature my little son (named after said world champion) on his Ducati ride-on!
image courtesy of Andrew Napier and used under Creative Commons, go find him on Flickr!