Nicky Hayden believes Andrea Dovizioso is the best possible choice to replace fellow Italian Valentino Rossi in Ducati’s factory MotoGP squad in 2013.
Dovizioso is close to agreeing a deal to ride a Desmosedici GP13 and an announcement is likely to be made by the Bologna factory during next weekend’s Czech Republic MotoGP round in Brno.
Dovizioso is understood to have told his current Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad that he will not be staying on a satellite YZR-M1, but the former 125GP world champion is adamant he is still to sign a contract with Ducati.
Hayden said the capture of experienced Dovizioso would be good for Ducati and speaking ahead of his home race in Indianapolis this weekend, the 2006 world champion said: “If it's Dovi, I think he's probably the best choice out there.
"He's got good experience having spent years at Honda, then now Yamaha. I think his experience can be beneficial to our engineers. How he'll go on the Ducati, we'll have to wait and see.
"Of course, I think one of the good things is Dovi doesn't make a lot of mistakes when he rides. He's pretty precise, and that's important. Because if you make a lot of mistakes on the Japanese bike, when you get on the Ducati, that's just double. Well, maybe not double, but is more.
"So hopefully he can bring some knowledge and help us develop a good bike if he does come. And I look forward to having a strong team-mate.”
Hayden, who penned a new one-year deal to remain with Ducati at the previous round in Laguna Seca, also gave his thoughts on the departure of nine-times world champion Rossi.
Rossi will move back to Yamaha after a disastrous two-year spell at Ducati saw him claim just two podium finishes in 27 appearances.
Hayden, who is looking for his first top five finish of the season at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, said: “We've had a good relationship. I'm not like going to be in tears over it.
"As great as it would have been to see Valentino at the front on the Ducati, it just hasn't at the moment happened. So you move on and see who my new team-mate will be. But I enjoyed being team-mates with him.
"I don't know about a lot of good times, but I enjoyed being team-mates with him and he’s definitely somebody I respect a lot. It's good to see him back staying in MotoGP and with the new challenge.
"And as good as it would have been for the sport him winning on the Ducati, him at the front on anything I think we'll all benefit from."