Comments apparently made by Nicky Hayden in an interview with the Italian sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport caused a bit of a stir among MotoGP fans. According to Autosport, Hayden told the Gazzetta that it was "a bit shameful" for Casey Stoner to leave Ducati. In response to questions about Stoner's move to Honda, Hayden allegedly replied "I think it's a bit shameful, as Ducati has done a lot for his career and has helped him in every possible way in winning races and the championship."
When asked about the comments at Laguna Seca, Hayden denied that was what he said, suggesting the problem probably arose from a misunderstanding. "Maybe it was just a translation," Hayden said, but he made it clear he was aware that words can get twisted to suit the ends of the media. "Maybe the journalist is looking to sell a few more magazines, because I mean, [Casey] knows me, I wouldn't make a comment like that, that's not my business," Hayden explained. "You know I would like to say something got lost in translation, but I think they're just trying to make a headline."
Hayden realized something was up when he saw a crowd of journalists questioning a Ducati press spokesperson. "I know when I saw [the spokesperson] this morning, I saw a bunch of people standing round this morning, figured something was going on," Hayden said, but he also emphasized that they had gone back and checked on exactly what Hayden had told the Italian journalist. "I did the interview and we went back and checked, we recorded it. Like I said, we listened to the interview, and it was totally taken the wrong way," Hayden said.
What Hayden had meant to say was simply that it was a pity that Stoner was leaving, the two riders having had a good relationship inside of Ducati. "I was just saying, Casey had a good run here at Ducati, for both Casey and Ducati. It was a pity, but nothing lasts forever, so he moved on, and that's it," Hayden told journalists. "But there's not more to it than that, I wasn't speaking for him or about him."
Hayden said he had not spoken to Stoner about the misunderstanding yet, and didn't really feel it was necessary. "I haven't even seen him today, but I don't think he's worried," Hayden said, adding that it was unlikely to improve Stoner's troubled relationship with the press. "I'm sure it'll give Casey another reason to love the journalists," Hayden joked. "But if I see Casey, I might just clear the air," Hayden added, "But I don't think I need to, Casey knows me well enough, he knows I'm not going to weigh in on something like that."