Marco Melandri backs Nicky Hayden to succeed at Ducati

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Marco Melandri believes Nicky Hayden will be able to prove that Ducati’s MotoGP contender is not just a one-rider bike after the American clinched a deal to partner Casey Stoner in 2009.

Melandri’s nightmare campaign on the GP8 has paved the way for Hayden to replace the struggling Italian, who has negotiated an early release from Ducati move to Kawasaki’s factory team.

Melandri is one of several high-profile riders to fail dismally to match the performance of Aussie Stoner on the Ducati, and he hasn’t come close to threatening a podium finish in 2008.

But the former world 250 champion reckons Hayden’s aggressive riding style should ease his transition to the GP9.

Melandri told MCN: “I think he will be okay. He is pretty aggressive and I think he can be fast on this bike because that is the style you need. But until I see him its hard to say because I thought I would be fast with this bike but it behaves completely different to how you expect. Nicky needs to have an open mind, which I’m sure he will have.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt