Nicky Hayden: Ducati slipping further behind Honda and Yamaha

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Nicky Hayden fears the gulf in performance between Ducati’s struggling Desmosedici and Japanese rivals Honda and Yamaha is increasing.

The American, who will leave Ducati after a difficult five-year stint at the end of the season, says a failure to improve the woeful Desmosedici and a clear lack of technical leadership is behind the Bologna factory’s continuing nightmare sequence of results.

Hayden struggled to a lowly ninth at the Motorland Aragon last weekend and it is now 13 months since a Ducati rider scored a podium when Valentino Rossi finished second in his home race at Misano.

Hayden, who will move to the Aspar Aprilia squad in 2014, told MCN: “Unfortunately we are getting farther away. With the lab bike that we started testing after Jerez, they thought it was going to be a lot better and at that time it was no better. They have worked a lot and tested a lot and never really did a step. If you are not fixing problems you need to understand what is going on, so it is true that they maybe need to look at it and see why if it is a matter of personnel or mistakes.  There is a lot of good engineers and people there, so that is not the only problem but at the moment I’d say they do need to look at all areas to see why the gap this year is not getting closer.”

Hayden believes Ducati’s ailing premier class project has suffered without a clear technical figurehead after Filippo Preziosi was unceremoniously removed in a management shake-up at the end of 2012.

Preziosi was the highest profile casualty of the disastrous Valentino Rossi spell at Ducati, but Hayden believes the long-serving technical guru has been missed and he added: “In my opinion they miss Filippo. There was a big hole when he left because he was so involved with the bike. At least he was a good clear leader and people could listen to him and we knew who was in charge. You would get a straight answer and it is unfortunate that he is not around.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt