Nicky Hayden: ‘No doubt Rossi can win at Ducati’

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Nicky Hayden told MCN in Estoril this afternoon that he’s keen to hear Valentino Rossi’s first impressions of Ducati’s factory MotoGP contender.

And the American says he is no doubt that current Fiat Yamaha rider Rossi can win immediately on board a GP11 next season.

Anticipation is building ahead of Rossi’s first Ducati ride in Valencia in less than two weeks with the Italian recently released from his Yamaha contract to join Hayden next month.

Rossi will make his much-hyped GP11 debut in Spain on November 9 and 10 and Kentucky rider Hayden said he was looking forward to the nine-times world champion’s initial feedback.

When asked by MCN in Portugal if he’d spoken to Rossi ahead of the Valencia test, he said the former Repsol Honda team-mates had chatted briefly last month in Misano.

The 2006 world champion said: “We’ve had some little chats. I haven’t gone into detail but we have talked about it a little bit. I’m sure he will want to ride it himself and make his own conclusion but I told him before I got no doubt he can win on this bike.

“I’m interested like everybody to see what he thinks about it. I think it is going to be good for MotoGP and good for Ducati to get his experience. Casey has been on it a long time and he’s never ridden a different 800.”

Hayden certainly feels Rossi is joining Ducati at just the right time with Stoner in fantastic form on the GP10 machine.

The Aussie has won three out of the last four races but Ducati has strived tirelessly recently to make its Desmosedici package easier to go fast on.

Hayden added: “From when I tested the bike for the first time it has changed a lot since then and it is going to make it a lot easier to make the transition now.

“The bike has improved a lot and they’ve done a lot of work to make it a more normal and consistent bike where it is easier to get on it and go fast and not feel so strange.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt