Ducati has signed Nicky Hayden to a one-year contract extension, retaining the Kentucky native for the 2013 MotoGP season.
Hayden, who turns 31 on July 31, has raced for Ducati‘s factory team since 2009. During this period, Hayden has been somewhat overshadowed by his teammates, first by Casey Stoner and now Valentino Rossi. Nevertheless, Hayden retains a lot of support from fans, including those in the U.S. which has become Ducati’s largest market.
The Kentucky Kid currently sits eighth overall in the championship heading into the U.S. Grand Prix at Laguna Seca.
“I’m very happy that I’ll be back with Ducati and back in MotoGP, racing at the highest level for a very important team. I love the guys I work with, I love the Ducati fans, and I love the brand,” says Hayden. “This is an important time for Ducati in a number of ways, and I’m excited that I’ll continue to be a part of it. I feel like I’ve got some unfinished business here, and hopefully we can get all the pieces into place and reap the rewards of the hard work we’ve put in the last couple of years. It’s nice to be able to make this announcement at Laguna and to share the moment with my fans, friends and family. If I can do a good result on Sunday, it could make for a pretty special birthday weekend.”
With Hayden assigned one of Ducati’s factory Desmosedicis, the focuses even more on his current teammate. Rossi’s contract is also up for renewal but his time with Ducati has thus far been a major disappointment. Ducati is believed to have a strong interest in retaining the wildly popular Rossi but the manufacturer has also reportedly been in discussions with Tech3 Yamaha rider Cal Crutchlow.