Former MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden is in his 11th year as a factory rider. And his last. Dropped by Ducati (he joined the Italians five years ago from Repsol Honda), he will next year move to the second level, on an upgraded CRT Aprilia ART.
Hayden is one of the best-liked riders in the paddock. His gift is he can speak his mind while still being kind.
He also has an almost full suite of race wins: in AMA Superbike, where he was champion, and in MotoGP. He’s also just a dirt track mile oval victory away from the coveted AMA Grand Slam (a win on a half mile, short track, TT, mile and road race).
We spoke to him at the Grand Prix of Aragon, about the past, the present and the future. Here is what he said.
What has it been like at Ducati? The phrase “shoving sh*t uphill” comes to mind.
I hate to be too negative now that I’m leaving, because it was five years. But if we’re honest the results aren’t near what we expected. Ducati is a great brand, I love the guys I work with, and the Ducati fans… but it’s true, it’s been a lot of hard work without a lot of rewards. So if you’d have told me five years ago these would be the results I would’ve been really disappointed. But I don’t want to go back too much now, you know – I wish we’d did this or maybe if we’d tried that. Truth is we tried a lot.
Especially this year. I would say this has been the most frustrating because we had high expectations of the new bike we were going to try and a lot of changes going on. Also without Filippo [Preziosi, Desmosedici designer and head of Ducati Corse] around it’s been hard.
To read more of the Nicky Hayden interview in this week’s Cycle News, click here