Under the lights of the Indy Mile, where motorcycle racing began for the Kentucky-born MotoGP racer, Nicky Hayden has signed a two-year contract with Ducati Corse for the 2011 & 2012 seasons. Not the biggest surprise in the paddock, Hayden’s contract renewal has never really been questioned this season as the American started the season off with series of strong finishes and continues to be a strong brand ambassador for Ducati in the United States.
Hayden will be joined the next two years by former teammate Valentino Rossi, the pair rode for Repsol Honda in 2003, with Hayden finishing the season 5th in his rookie GP season.
“I am very proud to be signing for Ducati again,” said Hayden. “Last year I felt like I rode for Ducati but now I really feel as if I am a Ducati rider. The team, sponsors and Ducati fans have really taken me in and supported me a lot and I really hope to pay them back with the results they deserve.”
“Next year I’ll be teamed with some guy named Rossi who knows a little something about bikes! We’re going to have a strong squad – I won’t predict results but I have no doubt this team will have some real passion, real worth ethic and a lot of fun. It is the start of a new era at Ducati and it is an honor for me to be a part of it.”
Hayden served as the Lucas Oil Indy Mile AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Grand Marshal, and even took the dirt track for several laps. Sitting on the front-row for tomorrow’s MotoGP race at Indianapolis, Hayden will have to channel his flat-tracking roots, as the entire GP field has been struggling with a bumpy and slick road course at Indy.