Nicky Hayden begins Ducati career in Valencia

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Nicky Hayden has just completed his first laps on Ducati’s MotoGP machine in Valencia.

After sitting looking somewhat anxious and apprehensive at the back of the Ducati garage, Hayden finally went out on track some 70 minutes after the pitlane was open, his Ducati sporting a striking stars and stripes paint scheme.

Hayden, who will partner former world champion Casey Stoner in 2009, held brief discussions with Ducati technical director Filippo Preziosi and Stoner before he took to the track for a long first stint.

Hayden has a sticker emblazoned on the back of the Ducati pitbox that says ‘Chapter 2’, and he’s also got one on his fairing.

Marco Melandri has also completed his first laps on Kawasaki’s ZX-RR as the 2009 season kicked off in Valencia this morning, less than 24 hours after the conclusion of the ’08 campaign.

More pictures and reaction to follow later.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt