MotoGP »'s Top 10 MotoGP Riders - 10th

Nicky Hayden's first year with Ducati may not have been perfect, but his gradual improvements over the season are rewarded with a top ten place in your vote to find the top rider from the 2009 MotoGP season
After a career spent pedalling Hondas in various classes, most notably his MotoGP World Championship title win in 2006, Nicky Hayden embarked on a change of scenery for 2009 – with mixed results.

Taking on the bike that Marco Melandri couldn't wait to hand over after a dismal single season on the Desmosedici, Hayden had high hopes of replicating some of the form that took him to title victory, but the reality proved somewhat different.

Despite some promising noises in testing, Hayden endured a difficult start to the season, getting mired outside the top ten for the first few rounds.

In his defence, Melandri's stellar performances on the unfancied Hayate went some way to suggest Hayden's issues were down to a similar incompatibility with the Desmosedici. Nonetheless, with Casey Stoner up at the front, Hayden needed to at least get closer to his team-mate.

Hayden plundered on and the results slowly began to pick up as the year wore on, posting a top ten finish in Barcelona, before popping into the top five at his home round at Laguna Seca.

Inspiration on home soil was also the motivation behind his one and only podium of the season at Indianapolis as Hayden finished a fine third, the American also enjoying his status as lead rider following Stoner's absence through illness.

Top five results in the final two rounds lifted Hayden's spirits further, but it wasn't enough to see him end the season higher than 13th in the standings.

Nonetheless, by voting Hayden three positions higher in your end of season vote, you have recognised that he finished just 11 points off seventh overall, a position he would have likely achieved had he not been innocently involved in three first lap incidents.

It means Hayden, who has been re-signed by Ducati for another year, can go into the off-season with something to build on - even if he knows he will have no excuses in 2010 if he doesn't…


Team: Ducati Marlboro
Bike: Ducati Desmosedici GP9

Championship position: 13th
Points: 104

Races: 17
Pole positions: 0
Victories: 0
Podiums: 1
Best results: 3rd (Indianapolis)
Points finishes: 15

Top 10 MotoGP Rider of the Year 2008: 5th

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Hayden, Valencia MotoGP Test 2009
Hayden, Valencia MotoGP Test 2009
Hayden, Valencia MotoGP Test 2009
Hayden, Valencia MotoGP Test 2009
Hayden, Valencia MotoGP Test 2009
Hayden, Valencia MotoGP Test, 2009
De Puniet, Hayden, Valencia MotoGP Race 2009
Hayden, Valencia MotoGP Race 2009
Hayden, Valencia MotoGP Race 2009
Hayden, Valencia MotoGP Test, 2009
Hayden, Valencia MotoGP Test 2009
Hayden`s number on Miller’s glove, Catalunya MotoGP Race 2017
Darryn Binder wearing a Hayden rep, Italian Moto3 Race 2017
Crowds, flags, Italian MotoGP Race 2017
Petrucci, Domenicali, Dovizioso, Italian MotoGP Race 2017
Petrucci, Domenicali, Dovizioso, Italian MotoGP Race 2017
Petrucci crying, Domenicali, Dovizioso, Italian MotoGP Race 2017
Smith with Hayden`s number on his fairing, Italian MotoGP Race 2017

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December 15, 2009 12:08 PM

Hayden's a good rider, but he's not near the top 4 I read all the Ducati press releases during and after Hayden's sighning and not one of them mentioned him vying for the World Championship. What they did mention was his work ethic and persistence. I think Ducati hired him to develop the bike into something all the Ducati riders could get into the top ten and to that end he's done a great job. I think part of Stoners devastating form on return from illness was the improvements Hayden had made to the bike while he was away

Jake - Unregistered

December 15, 2009 4:17 PM

Alex you say Nicky beat Rossi fair and square but Stoner didn't? That's BS. By the same logic you can say Nicky had an advantage because the M1 had problems that year also. How many times did Rossi have the best Honda? Funny how people like to give one rider credit and at the same time dis another rider. If you don't like Stoner that's fine but he won the title. The "ducati won the title" argument doesn't fly simply because of the fact that todate Stoner is the only one who has done anything with that bike. If you give Rossi credit for winning in 04 on a bike no one else could then you have to do the same for Stoner...geez you people crack me up with your BIAS'

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