PHOTOGRAPHY BY GOLD & GOOSE
Marlboro Ducati’s Nicky Hayden still doesn’t know what he’s doing next year, but his options continue to grow and there’s more good news than bad.
Speaking at today’s pre-race press conference in advance of this weekend’s Czech Republic Grand Prix at Brno, Hayden was asked about his options for next year. It’s not the first time he’s had the question posed to him and it won’t be the last – at least until he has something to tell us.
“I can’t really,” Hayden said when asked if he had something to report on his employment status for 2014. “Even I don’t know so it’s not just me up here giving you a line. I really don’t know yet. It really does look exciting actually. A month ago I didn’t know I would have this many options – some good options, too. Some that are quite exciting that really got me looking forward to the future. These next couple of weeks are crunch time and we’ll know something. Still some details to work out to find which choice is the best for me, but I can say that I’m pretty excited and I’m looking forward to what’s next and see what I’ve got left.”
If Hayden has his druthers, he’ll remain in MotoGP, but the World Superbike options may include factory rides.
“My heart is still in MotoGP, so if I find the right home here on something that sounds like fun and sounds competitive and I’ll stay here,” Hayden said. “Even World Superbikes is maybe not my first choice, but there’s worse choices than going there on a factory bike. To be completely honest, I have some negotiations on both sides and see what shakes out. We’ll know in the next few weeks.”
As for last week at Indy… well, Hayden got plenty of attention for his last-corner shunt with teammate Andrea Dovizioso, but the bottom line is the battle was for seventh and nowhere near the front – where both of them want to be.
“Of course, eighth place there wasn’t spectacular and we got beat there by more than we hoped,” Hayden said. “I hope here… Brno is a track I didn’t come to last year, so the hope on paper is that we can be a little bit more competitive with less bumps and longer straightaways where our engine runs better on top. It should be better, but I’m sure everybody thinks the same. We’ll wait and see how it goes in the morning. But nonetheless, I’m looking forward to it. Brno is a circuit I really love and I think everybody does. This really is a Grand Prix track – big, wide and fast – so let’s hope we can be more competitive than last week.”