NICKY HAYDEN of Owensboro KY has renewed his contract with Ducati for another two years. The 2006 MotoGP World Champion will team with seven-time MotoGP Champion, VALENTINO ROSSI of Italy. In Saturday afternoon’s post-qualifying press conference, Hayden’s eyes were twinkling when asked if it was getting any closer to an announcement. “Yeah, we maybe up discussion again and start negotiating. No, we’re close. Official announcement any minute now.”

Well, that minute came Saturday evening long after most media outlets had left the building. But no worry. Here are a couple of quotable comments.

“Next year I’ll be with some guy named Rossi who knows a little something about bikes! We’re going to have a strong squad – I won’t predict results but I have no doubt this team will have some real passion, real worth ethic and a lot of fun. It is the start of a new era at Ducati and it is an honor for me to be a part of it. I’m very proud to be signing with Ducati again. Last year I felt like I rode forDucati, but now I really feel as if I am a Ducati rider. I really hope to pay them (team, sponsors and Ducati fans) back with the results they deserve.”

Ducati Corse Director, FILLIP PRIZES said “We are really pleased that Nicky will be staying with us for the next two years. Nicky is a rider who never gives up, his whole racing history shows it. As a person, his tenacity is an example for all of us because he shows that nothing is impossible if you truly believe. Nicky is also a special rider because of his attention to every detail for him having Valentino as a team-mate means a huge contribution towards the development of an even more competitive motorcycle. I think it it is those characteristics that have won the hearts of all the Ducatisti and that is the reason why a Ducati is the bike for him right now.”

Hayden will start third in Sunday’s Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

L-R Jorge Lorenzo (P2), Pole Sitter Ben Spies, and Nicky Hayden (P3)
Post-Qualifying Photo Op. L-R Jorge Lorenzo (P2), Pole Sitter Ben Spies, and Nicky Hayden (P3)