Nicky Hayden will be staying with Ducati in MotoGP for the 2013 season. Ducati Corse today issued an official press release announcing Hayden's contract extension for another year.
Hayden's continuation at Ducati had been in doubt for over a month, with the news that Ducati was in talks with Cal Crutchlow for next season emerging after Silverstone. Since then, internal discussion - and the support of Ducati CEO Gabriele Del Torchio - has swung back in Hayden's favor, seeing the Kentuckian offered a new contract for next year. Hayden's popularity around the globe, and most especially, his importance to the key US market was a major factor in the decision to extend Hayden's contract. Stability in the team also played a role; with a strong chance that Valentino Rossi could leave the team at the end of this season, starting 2013 with two new riders was felt to be too great a risk. By securing Hayden's services for next year, some continuity in bike development is ensured.
With Hayden now signed, all eyes are on his teammate Valentino Rossi. Rossi is due to make a decision on whether to stay with Ducati or move back to Yamaha in the short summer break between Laguna Seca and Indianapolis. There are no clear signs of what that decision will be as yet. Ducati, like the rest of the world, will have to sit and wait.
Below is the press release from Ducati Corse on Hayden's extension:
Ducati announces renewal of Nicky Hayden’s contract
On the occasion of the United States Grand Prix, the home race for two-time Laguna Seca MotoGP winner Nicky Hayden, Ducati announces a contract extension with the American that will see him continuing to race for the Ducati Team next year.
Nicky Hayden, who turns 31 on Monday, is currently in his tenth season in the MotoGP series and his fourth with the Ducati Team. During that time, he has become extremely popular with fans and Ducatisti all over the world, thanks to his reliably positive outlook, his passion, and his determination. He currently sits eighth in the championship points standings and is working hard on the development of the Desmosedici GP12, employing his typical effort and enthusiasm.
The United States hosts no fewer than 45 DOCs (Ducati Owners Clubs) and tomorrow thousands of fans will have the opportunity to meet Nicky at Ducati Island, an area at Laguna Seca where Ducatisti gather to follow the race and experience the “red passion.” Following the afternoon qualifying session, Nicky himself will visit the Island’s stage, where many spectators and fans will no doubt be excited to join him in celebrating the news of his renewal with the Ducati Team.
Nicky Hayden, Ducati Team
“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.”