FILE PHOTOGRAPHY BY GOLD & GOOSE
MONTEREY, CA - JULY 18 - Nicky Hayden confirmed today in the pre-race press conference for this weekend’s Red Bull United States Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca that he’s been “sacked” by Ducati and doesn’t have a job in MotoGP for next year.
But the always-classy Hayden ended what was likely a difficult press conference for him with what we’ve come to expect. More class.
“Don’t feel sorry for me. It’s all right - I’ll live.”
Hayden returns to the track where he has the fondest memories - the two wins in 2005 and 2006 the high water mark of his career that culminated in the 2006 MotoGP World Championship. But now he’s in the unenviable position of being a lame duck (no pun intended) for the rest of the season as his future is in doubt and he searches for another job.
“It’s not an easy moment,” Hayden said. “I’m not coming back with Ducati in MotoGP. They [Ducati] chose to go in a different way. I really don’t know my future to be honest. I have a couple of things going, some interesting stuff. In MotoGP it doesn’t look so good. You don’t really know with the new bikes, the new rules, what the possibilities could be. After this race we have the summer break and I do have a few options are interesting. I still love racing bike and still think I have a lot to give so try to find a new home and see what’s left. It’s not the perfect situation, but it is was it is and we have to make do with it.”
Most believe that his options lie in World Superbike… perhaps even with Ducati. But Hayden would like to stay where he is. In MotoGP, though riding a CRT or customer bike isn’t something he sounds like he’d accept at this point in his career. And he’s a realist as far as what offers might come his way.
“Of course,” Hayden said if it’s MotoGP where he wants to be. “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 or there. I’ll take in all the options, weigh them out and see which ones I’m most excited about and which one sounds like it’s going to be the most fun. If that be MotoGP… sure, but I’m not sure Repsol’s going to come knocking on my door today for one of those spots. It’s difficult. There are only so many seats in MotoGP. We know there are 12 official bikes and most of them are spoken for. It’s not an ideal situation, but it’s the way it is. Unfortunately, these results the past few years haven’t gone how we hoped. Nobody likes to get sacked, but that’s what’s happened. We'll see what’s next.”
As for this weekend and the rest of the races on the schedule… it’s business as usual for Hayden.
“It's hard enough as it is right now on this bike, but it doesn’t really change things a whole lot in the race,” he said. “Once we leave here and we put the helmet on, nothing really is different. Of course, we want to try and finish the year as best we can and some good results would help the situation. But don’t feel sorry for me. It’s all right, I’ll live.”