Ducati bosses have said Nicky Hayden is worthy of another chance in the Bologna manufacturer’s factory MotoGP squad in 2013.
Hayden signed a new one-year deal during his home round at Laguna Seca in California last month that will keep him on a factory Desmosedici for a fifth successive premier class campaign.
Hayden’s place at Ducati seemed in serious jeopardy only a few weeks ago as Ducati pushed hard to persuade Valentino Rossi to remain, while management also entered into lengthy discussions with British rider Cal Crutchlow.
The 2006 world champion has forged a close relationship with senior Ducati personnel since he arrived from Repsol Honda in ’09 and many were reluctant to let the Kentucky rider depart.
Some felt that Hayden’s Ducati future had been safeguarded by Rossi’s decision to quit Ducati and re-join Yamaha on a two-year deal, with Ducati unwilling to start from scratch with two new riders next season.
But Ducati boss Alessandro Cicognani told MCN: “We thought that Nicky deserved to be re-signed so we go for it no matter what was going on with other decisions. We decided that Nicky was our choice, so we decided to go with him.
"With Nicky we spoke very straight with him in the middle of June and we told him that nothing had been decided and his destiny was in his own hands. We told him we were happy with him but he has to be happy with the bike, and us so I think he deserves to have the renewal of the contract.
"It will be his fifth year and he has always been loyal and he is still a fast rider as he has shown this year. We just have to work harder to go closer to the top spot.”
Hayden has scored just three rostrum finishes for Ducati and is currently seventh in the standings with four sixth places this season.
Favourite to join the 31-year-old and replace Rossi is Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Andrea Dovizioso.
For all the news and views on Valentino Rossi’s return to Yamaha, see the August 15 issue of MCN.