Ducati - Hayden Deal Close, Pramac Offers For Canepa And Simoncelli

By now, the only MotoGP fans who might have missed the fact that Nicky Hayden is likely to sign for Ducati for next year can only have been stuck in the depths of the Amazon jungle for the past 6 months. But the chasm that yawns between the probable and the actual remains as wide as ever, and until the official announcement is made, the deal cannot be taken as done.

An interview with Ducati team boss Livio Suppo over on Speed TV appears to bring the probable more firmly into the realm of the real. Suppo spoke of his admiration for Hayden, and especially the American's attitude to racing. Suppo was particularly impressed by the American's maturity and consistency, and believes that Hayden would be an excellent team mate for Casey Stoner. Suppo told Speed's Colin Young that Ducati expected to announce their plans at the end of the month, which means that an announcement will probably be made at the Misano MotoGP round, just a few miles from Ducati's home base in Bologna.

Suppo's take on the satellite Pramac team was even more interesting. The Ducati supremo admitted that the team had made an offer to both Marco Simoncelli and to Mika Kallio to join the satellite team, but said that Simoncelli seems to be more interested in staying in the 250s for another year. But Ducati is unlikely to sign both men, as one place is likely to be kept open for the current test rider, Niccolo Canepa. The young Italian rider has been very impressive in testing, usually finishing ahead of Marco Melandri and the other Pramac riders.

Suppo told Speed that the two-day test after the Brno race would be used by Ducati to compare Canepa to the rest of the MotoGP field. Canepa finished ahead of several MotoGP regulars on both days, but whether 7th and 11th is good enough remains to be seen. Canepa has also been linked to Ducati's factory World Superbike squad, another bike he's been impressively fast on.

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The quotes from Suppo sound like a man who is intending to build a relationship which seems like a good indicator of intention.

I think that Simoncelli needs another year in 250's. He has the talent needed for MotoGP but he has to have his head together and I think that right now, he unfocused and undisciplined as a rider.

Stoner/Hayden and Kalio/Canepa seem like very complimentary teams. Kalio and Canepa can focus on improving each other while Hayden as a spoiler throws a serious challenge to Rossi if he can get on the podium regularly, the points become much more precious.



Been a long time Honda fan, been a long time NH fan. I hope nothing but the best for Nicky and I'm glad to hear Livio's comments about him and his character and his work ethic.

Honda's treatement of him in 2006 and 2007 were at best puzzling. How do you make the championship leading rider, in the midst of the championship run try out new parts for next years RC212DaniPedrosaV? Sure the team bosses can decide which riders they want to back but how they have treated him in the last few years has been pathetic.

Nothing but the best for you Nicky!!! Pedrosa and HRC can suck it.

Ditto to what Cac313 said! Nicky definitely deserves better then what he has been getting with the Honda-Repsol-Dani-Ped-Bot-Team.

How was Nicky testing new parts for the 2007 RV212V? That is the biggest myth ever, the 2006 RC211V and 2007 RC212V were completely different bikes top to bottom.

Nicky was the sole rider on the Brno-spec RC211V, which had been under development since 2005, and was specifically designed to emulate the Yamaha M1 in braking and corner entry. And obviously it worked.

I don't think that he was implying that Hayden was testing the 212V in the race, I think he meant that Hayden was forced to test out a bike (during testing not races) that was designed around Pedrosa.

That's a new one. The general misconception has been that Hayden was running the Brno bike in order to develop the 2007 RC212V.

But now you are saying that on top of all the development work Hayden was doing on the Brno bike, he was also testing the RC212V. How did Honda slip that one past the other teams and analysts? Have you ever read Neil Spalding's book? He can practically pick out when a bike has a bolt with a different thread pitch. But all these people didn't notice that Hayden was testing on next year's four cylinder RC212V?

3 years after the fact, and these Hayden debates are still going on. Just think, if Pedrosa had been assigned the Brno bike in 2006, then Hayden fans would have been crying that Nicky wasn't getting the latest parts, just as they have this year.

Everything that could have happened for Hayden to win the championship in 2006 happened. He won a world championship. End of story.


Huh? I don't think that anyone has ever implied that Hayden was short-changed in 2006 in anyway. The contention is that when Honda was developing the 212, the focused it on Pedrosa and short-changed Hayden in 2007.

At this point, I am not even sure where are getting the points that you are disagreeing with. No one has even suggested that Honda development on the 2006 bike wasn't focused on Hayden.

You're right, there was no implication or suggestion of Hayden being shortchanged in 2006. It was a direct statement:

"How do you make the championship leading rider, in the midst of the championship run try out new parts for next years RC212DaniPedrosaV?"

Later. Rehashing these arguments gets boring, especially when it gets to the minutiae of who-said-what-when.

. . . . . is, assuming the announcement does come at Misano, how HRC treats Nicky for the rest of the season.  Granted, it can't be much worse than what he put up with last year (short of them suddenly deciding they didn't want him riding the rest of the season), but it'll be interesting to watch.

And I'm not expecting much.

And, no doubt, once the racing season is over, Honda will of course not allow Nicky to go anywhere near a Ducati before 1 Jan 2009.


It will be a brave decision if NH does go to Ducati.

Apart from Stoner the Duke has been the kiss of death for many MOTOGP careers now.

I hope he goes and rides at least as well as Stoner.


Hayden going to Ducati would be a great move.

Scary, but a great move for him.

He's a great PR rep and could help Stoner mature a little more in the paddock by teaching him how to become a good sport.

Best of luck to Hayden and wherever he decides to go for 2009, he's still a factory rider and deserves better equipment than what he's been dealt with from the '07 season and this year (before the pneumatic valve engine.)

I think Ducati would be better served with going with Toni Elias as Melandri's replacement...........or keeping him with the sattelite team........

While it is true that the thoroughly beaten-under topic of Hayden's '06 difficulties with his own factory are a bit tiresome by now, and it is also true that calling his Championship winning campaign "testing for the RC212DPV" is a bit of overstatement, a couple issues are worth clarifying...

When you claim to know Neil Spalding's work, you will get quotes from Spalding's book:

(Speaking of the '06 bikes that Hayden rode) "The whole year was a fight to both develop the bike and stay ahead of the competition; it would arguably have been a lot simpler to use the older style of bike, but Hayden's job was to develop Honda's future design direction..." and "...Hayden's championship success was all the sweeter for the non-stop development work that it took to win it..."
(Neil Spalding, MotoGP Technology, p. 45)

Since HRC will not anytime soon reveal what parts on the new bike survived that development process, there is just speculation.  It was believed that the new slipper clutch and transmission that gave Hayden so much trouble in '06 were intended for the subsequent bikes, or at least design derivatives would be.  Pedrosa was using the same slipper clutch, but with the "old" engine and transmission.  Hayden was on the newer, mass-centralized, development of the engine and transmission which had difficulty dissipating heat.

While this is not news, what makes it germaine to the points offered here is this:  Why would HRC have been insisting that Hayden develop a bike that clearly would have been more beneficial for his smaller new team mate?  The obvious answer is that they trusted his development skills and relationship with the team engineers.  But this was at the same time that they were overtly attempting to win the final 990cc Championship away from Rossi and Yamaha.  Why make the team's #1 rider work double-duty, away from a bike he was comfortable with and towards a bike he clearly would not be comfortable with?  Why not make the new diminutive rookie do this development work on a bike that would eventually suit him more?

We'll never know for sure if this extra labor with engineering experiments was, in fact, a benefit or a hinderance for Hayden.  But, the situation points to the reason why most people believe Nicky would be a better fit on a different team; because what HRC did in '06 doesn't make a lot of sense - especially with the '07 season in hindsight. 

They have shown over the years that they believe it's the machine rather than the rider.  It is not a preference for Pedrosa.  It's a preference for a small pilot to show up and take on the compulsory role as a human atop their masterpiece of Showa pride.  If there wasn't a requirement for a rider, Honda wouldn't use one (dead weight).  But they do so they hire them. They nurtured Hayden since his teen years just as they later did with Pedrosa.  It wasn't just for marketing reasons in the US.  They were looking for the next champion, the next Freddy Spencer, who is still as highly regarded as any Honda champion.  Hayden is a great rider but turned out to be no wonder kid.  He was human and took several years to develop.  Pedrosa is the next big thing for them.  And before you know it, there will be another one nipping at his heels.  It may be a few years yet as they won't make an effort in more developmental classes until they get their way and do away with all 'stink wheels'.

Wow, just been watching hayden and stoner race. They have incredibly similar styles, I almost thought Hayden was Stoner before I snapped back to reality and started seeing colours again. Both hunker down a bit over the handlebars and seem to back the bike in more than, say edwards or melandri. I think Nicky has great bike control but lacks some finesse as opposed to Pedrosa who seems to be really precise but can't quite dominate the bike so much.

I think Nicky will go very fast indeed if he is on the Ducati next year. Honda can go bugger themselves (but I hope Dovi goes well :P), I hope he just cruises home without injuries, collects his pay cheque and goes and gets used to the Duc.

Oh!  What a joy it is to hear that he has FINALLY left a company that may not hate him, but is definately been giving him all the signs that an employer gives when they want someone to quit.  Less pay, a bike they admit was not developed for him....etc. 


I have defended Nicky for years but had to stop when it became clear he was just going to have to find a way to work around the problems he has been speaking about for the last couple of years.  After awhile, it just seemed like he was just going to make do with what he has.  Easier said than done, but when Satellite squads can get a win, on a bike that supposedly has less, it seemed to me he was just going to have to find a way to win, to prove, (yes prove), he is truly a champion.  I know he is, and many of his fans do too, but he still has alot to prove to many of his critics, and judging by their comments, fellow racers.


Nicky moving to Ducati should have happened YEARS ago.  Loyalty is Admirable, but this is a, "Screw me once shame on you.  Screw my twice, shame on me.", type situation.  Nicky has a Dirt Track Style of riding.  He likes to get the back to break loose.  He feels it helps him guide the bike.  A bike moving around under him will bother him less than it would most of the grid.  Looking at Casey Stoner come out of turns, that bike moves around, ALOT!  Far more than any other bike on the grid.  But for the Nicky, the power, and the movement, falls more into his style of riding.  Will he be as good as Casey, I do not know.  Will he be in a better position to win or take a Championship.....depends on how he meshes with the bike. 


If I was to put money on it.  I would say Nicky has a better chance of winning,(somewhere other than Laguna) on a Ducati. 

rusty bucket. i thought it as a well known fact that hayden's 06 bike was a franken-bike of 06 and prototype for the 07 rcv.   this topic was beaten to death by the press in 06 when hayden was leading the championship and developing at the same time.