Ducati boss Claudio Domenicali has likened Nicky Hayden’s steely determination and desire to succeed to British World Superbike legend Carl Fogarty.
The popular American started his Ducati MotoGP career last season in nightmare fashion, struggling to make any early impact on the factory GP9 machine.
But the 2006 world champion worked with typical determination and a never give up attitude and slowly turned his fortunes round in the second half of the campaign.
Hayden claimed four top six finishes in the last seven races and Domenicali said his commitment and desire to improve had been an inspiration to people at Ducati.
And he likened the Kentucky rider’s attitude to that of Fogarty, who became a Ducati icon when he won a record-breaking four World Superbike titles.
Domenicali said: “I believe that Nicky taught us a splendid lesson in life and management, with a motto that we’ve followed since Carl Fogarty won at Monza in 2000 by just a few thousandths of a second.
"When he hugged me, he said, “Never give up,” and in my opinion, Nicky said, “never give up” again. Nicky, found things harder than he or we expected.
"But he gave us a big lesson because he never lost his good attitude. He always had a spirit of great optimism.”