Indy MotoGP: Official - Nicky Hayden extends Ducati deal

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Nicky Hayden will partner Valentino Rossi in Ducati’s factory MotoGP squad in 2011.
News of the American’s contract renewal has been anticipated for several weeks and official confirmation came in Indianapolis on Saturday night.

The 29-year-old has inked a two-year deal and he said: “I am very proud to be signing for Ducati again. Last year I felt like I rode for Ducati but now I really feel as if I am a Ducati rider.

"The team, sponsors and Ducati fans have really taken me in and supported me a lot and I really hope to pay them back with the results they deserve. Next year I'll be teamed with some guy named Rossi who knows a little something about bikes!

"We're going to have a strong squad - I won't predict results but I have no doubt this team will have some real passion, real worth ethic and a lot of fun. It is the start of a new era at Ducati and it is an honour for me to be a part of it."

Hayden has scored one podium finish for Ducati when he was third in Indianapolis a year ago. He claimed his first front row start for the Bologna factory in qualifying yesterday and has improved significantly after a tough debut campaign.

The Kentucky rider is currently sixth in the overall standings and has claimed six top six finishes in the opening ten races so far in 2010.

Ducati Corse Director Filippo Preziosi said: “We are really pleased that Nicky will be staying with us for the next two years. It is no secret that he is a rider who never gives up; his whole racing history shows it.

"As a person his tenacity is an example for us all because he shows us that nothing is impossible if you truly believe. His progress since arriving at Ducati has been impressive and I am sure this trend will continue in the future.

"Nicky is also a special rider because of his attention to every detail and for him having Valentino as his team-mate means a huge contribution towards the development of an even more competitive motorcycle.

"I think it is these characteristics that have won the hearts of all the Ducatisti and that is the reason why a Ducati is the bike for him right now.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt