Hayden hints at Ducati deal
|By Michele Lostia and Pablo Elizalde
||Wednesday, September 10th 2008, 10:01 GMT
Nicky Hayden has given a firm hint that his future lies outside the Repsol Honda team, saying it is time for a change.
The American has endured two disappointing seasons since winning the title back in 2006, being overshadowed by teammate Dani Pedrosa.
Hayden is currently in 11th position in the championship and he has not stood on the podium all season long.
His contract expires at the end of this year and he has been in talks with Ducati to ride alongside Casey Stoner next season, especially since Marco Melandri was confirmed at Kawasaki.
"This is the time to change: I need to do something different," Hayden was quoted as saying by Motosprint magazine. "I can't say too many things now, but there will be an official announcement very soon.
"I really want to feel again like a teammate, I mean to be in a team where everyone works in the same direction and shares information. I can't wait for that moment to come.
"I have a lot of respect for Casey, for the way he's grown as a rider and the way he does his job. He minds his own business and lets his results do the talking. I'll have no problem with him."
He added: "The bike (Ducati) has great potential because of its engine and its power. Casey rides it very well, he's strong, and deserves great consideration for it. But I don't want to talk too much before trying it myself.
"I don't think the bike's characteristics are part of my new challenge: I just want to start getting good results again."
Hayden, whose teammate Pedrosa made a shock switch to Bridgestone tyres after the last race, said he was never in a position to do the same, but he claimed he was not surprised by the Spaniard's move.
"I've never been put in the conditions to choose. Once they told me that I would have just wasted my time had I even only thought about asking for Bridgestone tyres.
"But I'm not surprised they've given them to him. Besides, at Misano I didn't even have the same fork Dani had... No way would I think they'd let me try the new tyres.
"Honestly it was a shock at the beginning for me. I thought something like this would never happen, instead it has... There was a time when I thought of Bridgestones too, but I was told that's a decision for Honda to make, and that in any case there was no chance for me to have those tyres."