Motorcycle Racing News Nicky Hayden Returns to Ducati MotoGP

Nicky Hayden Returns to Ducati MotoGP

MotoGP 2011

Ducati unveiled its GP11 motorcycle that the returning American and fan-favorite Nicky Hayden will be riding in the much anticipated and upcoming 2011 MotoGP season, along side of new teammate Valentino Rossi.

Motorcycle race engineers from the Bologna Italy Factory re-worked the 2011 Ducati GP11 engine in order to obtain a flatter power curve, and new visible aerodynamics were created for the bodywork to create less lift, more top speed and less fuel consumption.

Hayden, from Owensboro, Ky., enters his third consecutive MotoGP season with Ducati. This year is a reunion of sorts for "The Kentucky Kid," as Hayden and Rossi were teammates at the Repsol Honda Team in 2003, Hayden’s rookie season. At the time Rossi said that Hayden’s flat track style of sliding the bike into corners was slowing him down.

Improvement has been a recurring theme with Nicky Hayden who won the 2006 MotoGP World Champion with the Repsol Honda Team before starting his tenure with Ducati.

Hayden’s first season with Ducati in 2009 was disappointing as he finished 13th in the premier-class MotoGP standings. But Hayden rebounded in 2010 to finish seventh as he became more accustomed to the unique culture and working style of Ducati.

Nicky Hayden (Ducati GP11) says: "The start was a little bit difficult, but it’s gotten better and better since I’ve been on this team and on this bike," explains the brother of Tommy and Roger Lee Hayden. "We’ve grown a lot, the bike has improved, and my relationship with the team has improved. We made a big step from the first year to the second, and I’d like to do the same this year.

"We know we have a good bike. We’ve made a couple of little tweaks for next year by adding some staff and a few engineers to help me. I have a strong team around me. I know being teammates with Rossi won’t be easy, but I really don’t get too caught up in that. I focus on my job, and that’s why I think it’ll work with us.

"I’m looking forward to having Valentino’s information and feedback. He’s been around a long time and has a lot of experience. I think it’ll be fun."

Nicky Hayden is scheduled to race in America on the new 2011 Ducati GP 11 at the Laguna Seca MotoGP on the weekend of July 24 and at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the fourth annual Red Bull Indianapolis MotoGP on Aug. 26.

The 2011 MotoGP season starts for Nicky Hayden the rest of the competitors on March 20 with the only night race on the calendar at the Losail International Circuit located just outside Doha in the Persian Gulf State of Qatar.

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

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