Nicky Hayden Confirms Departure from Ducati Corse

07/18/2013 @ 8:05 pm, by Jensen Beeler35 COMMENTS


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

  • phs

    Nicky on a competitive bike would be battling for wins. Man, I hope he lands somewhere competitive. He is as deserving and more so than any rider out there right now. Best wishes Nicky!

  • Norm G.

    re: “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.”

    and who’s to say he can’t return in the future. there’s still a round called Austin, and it’s not like the pipeline is teaming with yanks.

  • Slangbuster

    Nicky is absolutely right, he will be just fine. This is is a blessing in disguise.

  • MikeD

    Best of Luck to him. The Guy is a gentleman and a scholar. Hopefully he will get scooped up be a “decent” Team and Machine Combo and he will be winning races again, wherever he may end . . . MotoGP series or not.

  • Jesse

    Class act all the way, even more so given the fact that for the past few years, he knows well before he gets to the track that his bike won’t allow him to compete. Be great to see Nick back on the podium again, even if it’s in WSBK. No worries Nick, wherever you go, your fans will follow.

  • johndoe

    he better go for suzuki team…maybe he can get better result with the new bike…only stoner can tame the beast ducati

  • headrush

    Like others have said, this could be a blessing in disguise. Hop onto a factory backed bike in WSBK, ride and win for a year. Then check back in 2015 and see what’s available. Maybe a Suzuki ride..?

  • Texx

    I have been following Nicky Hayden since his early AMA super sport road racing days (when the AMA races were televised) and still cheer for him today in MotoGP. Glad to see him moving away from the Ducati camp and feel he will re-find the podium if he can get back on a competitive bike.

    He is a gentleman and a great ambassador for the sport. Best of Luck Nicky…

  • Gritboy

    It’s working for Rossi to distance himself from the noncompetitive Ducati’s, so “hopefully” whatever Hayden lands on will bring him luck too. It’s probably not going to be a factory ride, but who knows.

  • phil

    Anyone that leaves Ducati is going to be better off.

  • Silas

    We’ll be reading the same thing about Crutchlow in 2-3 years time. The Ducati is a pile of cr*p. Interesting how the Aprilia is beating it in both championships. Nicky is probably a lot more mature and responsible than I am so it’s unlikely he will take a CRT ride just to become another rider (like Aleix) that consistently beats the factory duck.

  • Red1

    I really hope Cal Crutchlow doesn’t fall for the “works ride” ploy and go to Ducati. It will be the end of a promising career!

  • TexusTim

    I watched it and I dont think he will be on a ducati next year…I hope that cal will pass on the ducati, with a seamless gearbox and gas tank cal could be a real threat on a yamaha but even with all his results on the satalite bike I dont think thats going to happen so both these guys are looking to the same place for a ride…cmon aprilla and suzuki get in the game…got to think kawai is not far off as an engine or two is being run in the crt class..this helps them develope a new package maybe 2015 will be the year but dorna needs to rehthink there philosophy and try to get a couple of them in for 2014..this will allow us too see who can do what on a better see nicky and call fade away from moto gp without showing if they could get it done on a better package would be a waste and throw away a great fan base that wants to see somthing other than spainards and italians on the good bikes…and dorna wonders how to imporve there precesence in other countries I guess because they have setteld for what they have in the states the way i see it.

  • Mike

    phil says:
    “”Anyone that leaves Ducati is going to be better off.””

    Gotta agree

  • JLusitano

    In Portugal whe say something like this:

    “in a house where there is no bread, everybody argues and nobody is right” – something like the situation in Bologna.

    Sad, for all Ducati supporters, to see the lack of results; to see careers tarnished by a machine that is supposed to be competitive and (to date) only one understood how it *really* works.
    Hayden is another piece in this “rolling-heads-game” and, with time, Andrea could be another one (even Spies…). it saddens me but, this team, is turning like a black-hole, full of frustration and decisions taken under pressure.

    Hope Hayden finds a new destination, where he could have the success he deserves – WSBK? Why not?

  • BrianZ

    for WSBK, Kawi, Duc, and Beemer and being mentioned, but I think this is Laverty’s last year on his current contract with Factory ‘Priller. Perhaps him still riding Eye-talian is possible. Since the Ape team is pretty much a factory effort in a very similar manner to MGP, perhaps that could be a more seamless transition for him?

  • JoeD

    The Panigale hasn’t been at the front like the old 1198 so anything Ducati is a no win for any one. Grab the Aprilia or BMW seat and do what Ben cannot.

  • smiler

    Lets be honest. Nicky Hayden is a likable bloke and decent rider. However he has won three races and as he said himeself was very lucky to win the world championship in 2006.

    As for Ducati being a career ender. When Ducati came to MotoGP they had riders, like Bayliss, Capirossi and Melandri. None of whom were going to win a MotoGP title. That is why they came to Ducati, a small factory with a CRT bike. Bayliss went back and won another WSBK title and Melandri is doing fine in WSBK. So the experience did no harm.

    Stoner was clearly the first top flight rider they had and managed 2nd, 1st 4th and 4th, a pretty good record.

    However with 3 changes in capacity and now a spec tire there is no way Ducati would have been able to keep up with that level of development and speed of implementation. They simply are not big enough. Rossi and Burgess confirmed that when Burges discussed the number of updates Yamaha would provide in a year.

    And lets be honest Ducati entered MotoGP with a CRT bike not a prototype. That is why they were able to sell it as a street bike.

    To say Aprilia are beating Ducati in MotoGp is patently not the case. Dovi is in the first place behind the factory Yamaha and Honda riders, 4 places in front of Art, in 10th place. Pirro is essentially a development rider as is Ianone, as has been pointed out.

    Audi are, as they said they would are going through the possibilities with the current platform. But given the size and competence of the company and their track record elsewhere, who really thinks they will not do what it takes? If anyone does then they are sadly mistaken. Once all options on the current bike are done and now that there is no need for Ducati to trickle tech done from the range topping bikes to the others Audi will build a prototype. Why else would the young riders go with Ducati? Because Audi have said they will continue with the current platform?

    As for WSB. The Panigale is new and essentially a completely different bike. It has done very well in Superstocks and now in BSB. The restrictions in WSB ensure that it will take time to see it true potential.

    Since 2008 Ducati, a small factory have extended the road range hugely with new bikes in all categories and new categories of bikes that that now make.
    This is likely to have had an impct elsewhere. Honda who have everything from F1 to Touring Car and Moto2 to draw on and along with Yamaha, a business at least 20 times the size of Ducati before then end of last year.

    Finally does anyone remember Aprilia’s move into MotoGP at the same time as Ducati. The Cube, a bike that had ferocity of the engine and the vagueness of the handling never seen before and tried to grill Colin Edwards. So let’s put Aprilia’s ability into perspective as well.

    In recent history, MotoGP has eaten and spat out Aprilia, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Illmor, Petronas, KR racing and others with BMW, Aprilia and KTM not even trying to get involved as full teams such are the risks.

  • L2C

    Too bad for Hayden, but I don’t feel bad for him. A guy like that will continue to do well. He’s like Rossi in many respects. If we care at all, we just have to wait and see what happens next. Whatever happens, it will most likely be good.

    And Hayden doing BMW? He could absolutely do BMW. And not just for bikes either.

    Nicky’s overall experience coupled with BMW’s portfolio could be a perfect match. I would think that Hayden is considering BMW’s offer very seriously. It’s by far the most attractive.

    If Hayden tries to stick around MotoGP, an offer like that may not come around again. And I wouldn’t blame him for sticking with his passion.

    I also wouldn’t blame him for signing with BMW.

  • G

    I think this is best for Nicky. Ducati is in shambles and it is not his fault. You cant blame the rider when your bike is being embaressed by CRT bikes. WSBK should be a great place for him. He always did well on production bikes. Ducati is reasonably competitive there and so is BMW. As for Cal, NOOOOOOOOOOOO!
    DONT DO IT CAL!!!!!! Ducati is a career killer. If I was him I would be kissing the rings of Gresini.

  • I agree with pretty much everyone else here… if anyone wants to win a race they need to stay off anything with a Ducati motor in it.

  • Trident

    motoguru says:

    “I agree with pretty much everyone else here… if anyone wants to win a race they need to stay off anything with a Ducati chassis in it”


  • TexusTim

    smiller your dedication to ducatti is admdarable but it is blinding you to the facts and nocking nicky will not help…in my opinion he threw away his best years on that bike…your makeing every excuse and putting the blame on anyone but the right direction (bologna) which is just like the whitehouse….it wont help till you realise if it smells like a fish and swims like one its a fish ! or (turd)..nothing can change that nor the current idration of the ducati till they pull there head out and stop all the excuses and do somthing constructive…really sad to see them take so many riders down with the attitude “stoner did it why cant you” rossi fiqured it out pretty quick smiller and hes italian fer christ sakes…aprilla has come a very long way and I think your ignoring those facts too…wsbk champion and comming on stronger than the ducati’s in motogp, better finishes are comming they keep improving bro, somthing ducatti can t get there head around, they want to fix it with a miracle rider why do you think they keep trying all these guys ? better to find another stoner than totaly revamp the duc and admit the current bike cant be improved…this is why there struggling so much.

  • Tony W

    I would love to see Honda dust off a RS750D for Nik.
    I would love to see him dominate the miles.

  • JW

    I became hopelessly hooked on MOTOGP when Hayden was a rookie. This feels like a kick in the gut. Laguna will be one of the most significant races in many years. There is so much on the line now, it would be nice to see Nicky get on the podium one last time…

  • LonestarBR

    Sucks that this came out the day before he threw a leg over the bike at his home race! We all know with Ducati, its not the rider. No matter who gets on it, its a 7th to 9th place ride. Stoner did it but it was a different day with tires. I hate the way this happened – Nicky deserves better. No good dead goes unpunished in corporate racing ( or corporate anything). I own Ducati’s – I think I will buy a BMW this year – they deserve a little punishment themselves. AS for Nicky – I hope he gets a stellar ride in WSB and wins the title – that would be fun to watch. Lets Get It!

  • Norm G.

    not sure where the BMW/WSBK option is coming from. can this rumor possibly have legs…? BMW/Goldbet is the equivalent of factory Honda or factory Yamaha in grandprix. unless they’re adding a 3rd bike…? (snowball’s chance) what hope does Nicky have of displacing the tag-team of Melandri/Manu or Chaz who just signed and a pulled a more than convincing double…? is his deal for 1 year or 2 years…? when it was first announced, they didn’t really give much details other than saying he’s on the team, and nobody really asked.

  • Norm G.

    re: “in my opinion he threw away his best years on that bike”

    his accountant, banker, and broker… ALL beg to differ.

  • tony

    yeah, what about a 3rd bike option? couple yrs back repsol had stoner, dani and dovi, right? why isnt anyone doin that now?

  • SBPilot

    Nicky has said that he is departing Ducati from MotoGP, but not necessarily WSBK. I think the headlines as him leaving Ducati Corse altogether is a bit misleading. Nicky is very careful with his words in the pre-race press conference and he said “very interesting” offers a few times. I’m guessing it’s WSBK. He is very clear that on Ducati MotoGP is releasing him. Anyway, we will see. Checa turned it up on practice this weekend in Moscow so perhaps Ducati will be retaining him. Bodovini has always been a disappointment however. I for one would not mind seeing Hayden rip around on a Panigale.

    I do think that a team wanting to run the Honda production racer would be good to use Hayden to develop the bike for a year or two similar to what Colin is doing, along side Redding or Luthi perhaps. Hayden is still decently quick.

  • TheSeaward

    @tony, from what I can tell Honda only kept Dovi on that year because he had an absolutely bullet-proof contract. They tried to get rid of him, but he was meeting the performance clause of his paperwork. At least that’s what I’ve read elsewhere. They essentially had their hands tied in the matter.

  • TexusTim

    RE : I would guess the bank account is not butt hurt at the moment nor for a very long time….I hope he doesnt get back on a ducati…bradls ride might come up but thats what i meant about two guys one ride.they would go with crutchlow for the age reason and he is in hot demand….yamaha could just give him the good stuff ya know ?…..they dont want him spanking lorenzo , the spanish market and all…I think on the same bike crutchlow goes faster …my opinion but the crt or what ever there going to call them next year with a honda,yamaha or aprilla engine would be the way to stay in motogp to ride out 2013 till 2014 and some contracts expire (racer retire) and suzuki and maybe aprilla enter the fray…more and more rumors about and fully backed aprilla team….nicky winning on that would be sweet…ya ? and you never know if rossi will decide not to do another year…it will all come down to how he does and feels later in the year so for riders that is nothing they can hold out for but it could happen.

  • ultimately most of his fans and the rest of the red white and blue blooded Americans just want to see him win, wherever he competes.

  • Faust

    I find it hilarious that people hate on the 1199 in WSBK. It’s got some issues to sort out, but in stock form its doing great in SSTK. Remember when BMW joined the series? They had a lot to iron out too, and yet were competitive from the start in SSTK as well. Ducati has won a championship on every generation of superbike since the 851, and to think they won’t do it again is crazy. Nicky would help out, and I really hope that’s where he goes. It would be a win-win for Ducati as it would hasten the development of the Panigale, and continue their successful association with Nicky.

  • TwoWheelLoo

    A lot like Jonathan Rea, amazing rider with lackluster machinery. Seeing what Crutchlow has done this year i would hate to see him end up with Ducati….