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Nicky Hayden confirms Ducati MotoGP exit

19 July 2013

Nicky Hayden has confirmed that he will leave the Ducati MotoGP team at the end of this season.

During the pre-event press conference for his home US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca, the 2006 world champion said:

"I'm not coming back to Ducati in MotoGP next year. They have chosen to go in a different way.

"I really don't know my future to be honest. In MotoGP it doesn't look so good. We don't really know with the new bikes, the new rules, what the possibilities will be. But I do have some options that are interesting.

"I still love racing bikes and still think I have a lot to give. So I'll try to find a new home. It's not the perfect situation but it is what it is. I have to try and land on my feet and make do with it."

Hayden is rumoured to be considering a switch to World Superbikes - where he could try and become the first rider in history to win both the 500cc/MotoGP and WSBK titles - but would prefer to stay in grand prix.

"Of course, this is the biggest show in the world. MotoGP is where my heart is, but I don't want to just stay here on a bike and run around trying to get a point here and there.

"So I'll take in all the options, weigh them out and see which I'm most excited about. Which sounds the most fun. If that be MotoGP, sure. But I'm not sure Repsol's going to come and knock on my door for one of those spots!

"It's difficult because there are only so many seats in MotoGP. There are only twelve official [factory/satellite] bikes and most of them are spoken for. It's not an ideal situation. Unfortunately these results the last few years haven't gone how we hoped. No-one likes to get sacked, but that's what happened. See what's next."

Hayden insisted that Ducati's decision will not change his approach during the remaining ten races.

"It's hard enough as it is right now on this bike, so it doesn't really change a whole lot. Once you put the helmet on nothing is really different. Of course we want to finish the year with some good results and that would also help my situation for next year.

"But don't feel sorry for me - it's alright, I'll live!"

A former AMA Superbike champion, Hayden rode for Repsol Honda from his 2003 MotoGP debut until joining Ducati in 2009. He claimed two of his three grand prix wins at Laguna Seca in 2005 and 2006.

The American took a podium in each of his first three seasons with Ducati, with last year his first without a rostrum in grand prix. Hayden is currently ninth in the standings.

Hayden is the only factory team rider without a contract for 2014. Tech 3 Yamaha's Cal Crutchlow has long been linked with Ducati, but insists his future plans remain undecided.

With three US races on the calendar, MotoGP will be keen to keep Hayden on the grid - especially with the 2014 plans of Ben Spies and Colin Edwards also unclear.

Hayden added that he does not expect to be frozen out of development at Ducati. "We've got a lot of racing left to go and we've got to do the maximum."


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