Making the rounds in the MotoGP paddock today at Laguna Seca, several sources close to the matter revealed to Asphalt & Rubber that Nicky Hayden is to announce a contract extension with Ducati Corse for the 2013 season this race-weekend. Pegged to be a one-year renewal, Hayden’s place at Ducati has been in a precarious position, ever since it was revealed that Cal Crutchlow had received an offer from the Italian team.
A workhorse for the Ducati, in addition to his personal sponsors, Hayden has been an integral member of the Italian brand ever since he joined the team back in 2009. With the United States now Ducati’s most important market in terms of sales, having an American on the company’s MotoGP team has been an important consideration for Ducati Corse, and the re-signing of Hayden to the Ducati Corse squad bodes well that Bologna has finalized its 2013 plans as well.
Unlikely to announce Nicky’s place in the team without securing the spot of the team’s #1 rider, the news that we will be hearing of Hayden’s contract at Laguna Seca gives a premonition that Ducati has closed in on a deal with Valentino Rossi. Said to have gotten the assurances from Audi that things would change within the Ducati Corse garage, Rossi has also been linked to a factory ride at Yamaha, as well as factory and satellite rides at Honda.
With the likely sticking point in that negotiations between Rossi and Ducati being the pace and process of development within Ducati Corse (there is said to be friction between Rossi and team boss Filippo Preziosi), the nine-time World Champion surely has gotten the backing of Ducati’s new owners that what changes he wishes to have made to the GP12/GP13 would be made, regardless of the what the engineers think is best.
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