Confirming what we already knew, Nicky Hayden announced today, at the pre-race press conference in Laguna Seca, that he would not be on a Ducati machine in MotoGP next year. “I’m not coming back to Ducati in MotoGP next year. I’m not really sure what I’m going to do — I’ve got some options that are interesting,” said the Kentucky Kid.
The news confirms reports that Ducati had told Hayden in Germany that a seat in the factory team would not be available for him in the 2014 season, which has further fueled rumors that Cal Crutchlow could be riding for Ducati Corse next season. As for Hayden, his options in the premier class appear to be rather limited.
“I’m not sure Repsol Honda’s going to come and knock on my door. Of course MotoGP is where my heart is, but I’ve got to weigh the options. Unfortunately results haven’t gone as planned over the years, but it is what it is,” said Hayden when talking about the situation.
Right now, it would seem that Hayden’s most likely option is to race a non-MSMA entry, though the competitiveness of those bikes would certainly be in question. There is still the outside chance that Hayden could land a job at LCR Honda, as Stefan Bradl’s contract with HRC is under question, though Honda is keen on finding younger raw talent, than the honed experience of a veteran rider.
This leaves the former MotoGP World Champion with the thought of moving over to the World Superbike Championship, where Kawasawki Racing, BMW Motorrad, and Ducati Corse are said to have made offerings to Hayden of a factory-backed seat. With the allure of being the first rider to be champion of both MotoGP and WSBK, a move by Hayden to the production-based series its positives.
Time will tell on what Hayden decides, but the likable American left the subject on a positive note. “Don’t feel sorry for me, it’s alright. I’ll live,” he said with a laugh.
Photo: © 2013 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved