Ducati close to new Nicky Hayden deal

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Ducati has admitted its big money pursuit of Valentino Rossi has delayed finalising a deal to extend Nicky Hayden’s contract.

Hayden though is a certainty to re-sign with Ducati having significantly improved his results this season after a torrid debut year in 2009.

The 28-year-old, who sits fifth in the world championship with 78-points, said: “I haven’t signed but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t looking good. I think they’ve got to sort out next door first and then work with me. But we’re in a good position.”

Ducati boss Alessandro Cicognani said a deal to keep Hayden was close and he added: “Right now waiting for Valentino but the clear plan is to have Valentino and Nicky. We are very happy with what Nicky has done.”

Hayden arrives in California for the first of two trips to America in just over a month hoping to end a recent slump in form.

The 2006 world champion started the season with four fourth places in the opening five races but he’s not finished higher than seventh in the last races.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt