As widely expected, and anticipated here just a couple of days' ago, Nicky Hayden announced an extension of his contract with Ducati at the Indy Mile flat track race on Saturday night. The good news for Hayden is that the deal is for two years, with Hayden signed up for 2011 and 2012. Hayden told the crowd at the Indy Mile "Next year I'll be teamed with some guy named Rossi, who knows a little something about bikes."
With both Hayden and Valentino Rossi signed up for two years, Ducati is clearly playing it safe over the formula switch back to 1000cc, due to take place at the end of the 2011 season. This allows both Hayden and Rossi to test and develop Ducati's MotoGP bike for the new formula, maximizing testing without running the risk of losing knowledge should one of their riders want to leave at the end of the 2011 season. But with Hayden having made a huge leap forward this year, and his public profile in the US helping to sell Ducatis in large quantities both at home and abroad, Ducati also felt that signing Hayden was a safe bet.
Below is the text of the official press statement:
DUCATI ANNOUNCE A TWO-YEAR DEAL WITH NICKY HAYDEN
Ducati is pleased to announce a renewed contract with Nicky Hayden that will see the American rider stay with the Italian factory's MotoGP effort for a further two years. His signature completes a new look of the Ducati MotoGP Team line-up for 2011, which will see the 29-year-old line up alongside Valentino Rossi.
Hayden, who over the past two seasons has won over the Ducatisti with his positive and determined attitude, currently lies sixth in the MotoGP World Championship standings and is confident for two successful seasons ahead, which he will tackle with his trademark enthusiasm.
Filippo Preziosi - Ducati Corse Director
"We are really pleased that Nicky will be staying with us for the next two years. It is no secret that he is a rider who never gives up, his whole racing history shows it. As a person his tenacity is an example for us all because he shows us that nothing is impossible if you truly believe. His progress since arriving at Ducati has been impressive and I am sure this trend will continue in the future. Nicky is also a special rider because of his attention to every detail and for him having Valentino as his team-mate means a huge contribution towards the development of an even more competitive motorcycle. I think it is these characteristics that have won the hearts of all the Ducatisti and that is the reason why a Ducati is the bike for him right now."
Nicky Hayden - Ducati MotoGP Team
"I am very proud to be signing for Ducati again. Last year I felt like I rode for Ducati but now I really feel as if I am a Ducati rider. The team, sponsors and Ducati fans have really taken me in and supported me a lot and I really hope to pay them back with the results they deserve. Next year I'll be teamed with some guy named Rossi who knows a little something about bikes! We're going to have a strong squad - I won't predict results but I have no doubt this team will have some real passion, real worth ethic and a lot of fun. It is the start of a new era at Ducati and it is an honour for me to be a part of it."