Ducati will be stronger in 2012, vows Nicky Hayden

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Nicky Hayden believes Ducati will bounce back stronger next season after a tough 2011 saw the Bologna factory score just two podium finishes all year.

Ducati’s campaign fell well below expectations after the capture of Italian icon Valentino Rossi, as the 32-year-old struggled to make the finicky Desmosedici competitive.

Rossi failed to win at least one Grand Prix for the first time in his 16-year world championship career this season while team-mate Nicky Hayden also couldn’t match his promising 2010 form.

Ducati didn’t score a top three finish after the fourth round of the series in Le Mans, despite Bologna factory technical staff rolling out a host of radical modifications for the GP11 during the campaign.

Hayden and Rossi were split by just seven-points at the end of the campaign though the nine times world champion didn’t score a solitary point after the Motorland Aragon race in mid-September.

Hayden, who is currently recovering from the broken right wrist he suffered in a multi-rider pile-up at the first corner, told MCN: “It has been a tough year for sure for me and the team.

“Sometimes it goes like that but it is hard because they (Ducati) have tried so hard. Ducati has done everything to give Valentino and me the opportunity but we weren’t been able to pull it all together.

“We have learned a lot and in some ways we’ll be stronger because of it, certainly mentally because everybody has been pulling together and worked hard. We just didn’t get the results though but you could have had a lot worse year.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt