can reveal that MotoGP World Championship leader Nicky Hayden has signed a new deal to remain at the factory Repsol Honda team for the next two seasons.
The breaking news was delivered to Crash.net
by Toby Moody, who also revealed that Hayden's new contract was only signed at 5.00pm local time, on Friday at the Japanese Grand Prix, after Hayden and Honda "met in the middle".
The American has been a Repsol Honda rider since his 2003 MotoGP debut, and is enjoying by far his most successful season - taking two wins from nine podiums and holding a 21 point championship lead over Valentino Rossi with three rounds to go - but there appeared to be some sort of delay in the #69 signing a new contract.
Hayden claimed he was simply concentrating on the championship, but rumours of rival offers from Yamaha (who tried to sign Hayden for 2003) and Ducati also surfaced. It was thought those rumours might simply be aimed at improving Honda's offer, but Hayden confirmed that he had "very serious" offers from other teams.
Hayden's new deal, which will see him remain alongside star rookie Dani Pedrosa, means he will now be able to ride Honda's mysterious new 800cc machine for the first time at Motegi on Monday.
It also improves countryman Colin Edwards' chances of retaining his factory Yamaha seat alongside Rossi, while Sete Gibernau will also feel more confident of keeping his factory Ducati ride next to Loris Capirossi.
More to follow...