Nicky Hayden has admitted his future at Ducati is an uncertain one after the Bologna factory offered British rider Cal Crutchlow a two-year factory deal.
With Ducati also stating its intention to keep nine-times world champion Valentino Rossi, Hayden admitted he was unsure for who and where he would be riding in 2013 when questioned about his future by MCN in Assen today.
Hayden has been with Ducati’s factory squad since 2009 but he has only scored six top three finishes and the 2006 world champion told MCN: “It doesn’t leave a lot of room. They (Ducati) have an option with me next year, but that expires in a couple of days. I've had some good talks with them at times, but other times I'm not really sure.”
Hayden said he would be gutted to lose his place at Ducati having put in so much effort and energy to try and turnaround the Bologna factory’s fortunes.
Ducati hasn’t won a race or come close to challenging consistently for the podium since Casey Stoner quit to join Repsol Honda at the end of 2010 and Hayden said: “I believe in Ducati. I think at some point this bike is going to win because they're working too hard. The sponsor is putting in so much that I've put in a lot these last five years when it struggled and it would kill me to not be here when it does finally come good. I'm sure Valentino's the first priority. I have had a couple of other talks, but I would like to stay in MotoGP so I need some results. At the moment it's hard to talk to anybody when all you have is some is sixth and seventh places. So I need to gas it up.”
Hayden made a positive start to the historic Dutch TT today when he set the third fastest time in practice.
A best lap of 1.34.968 put him just 0.102s behind compatriot Ben Spies at the top of the timesheets but Hayden expressed more concerns about Ducati’s excessive tyre wear again today.
The Ducati has been too aggressive on Bridgestone’s new soft compound rear tyre and Hayden and Rossi have struggled to maintain a fast pace over an entire race distance.
He said: “I struggled too much when the tyre goes away. We have the same tyres as Silverstone and the grip for one or two laps is great, but when I lose a bit of grip I have a lot of problems. Not so much for the spinning, more for the corner speed and more for getting the bike to turn. I really need the grip. I have to carry big lean angle to make the bike turn and when it goes away I struggle too much. So on one hand it's positive to be fast, but I have to be more consistent if I want to do a good race.”