With Repsol Honda Due To Announce On Thursday, 2013 Silly Season Is Drawing To A Close

At Mugello, a large number of pieces in MotoGP's Silly Season for 2013 are expected to fall into place. The long-expected announcement of the Repsol Honda team will be made on Thursday, according to Catalunya Radio, with Marc Marquez taking his place alongside Dani Pedrosa, who has inked a two-year extension with HRC. Pedrosa acknowledged at the Sachsenring that there were only details left to clear up, and after winning Germany, the Spaniard appears to have cleared the final hurdles to a new deal.

Mugello also looks like being the deadline for Cal Crutchlow. The 26-year-old Coventry man has offers of two-year deals from both the Factory Ducati and his current Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team. What Crutchlow would really like is a seat at the factory Yamaha team, but with that seat probably unavailable - either being held open for a possible return to the fold of Valentino Rossi, or else retaining current rider Ben Spies - Crutchlow is instead likely to accept Ducati's offer of a factory ride, believing that factory equipment is his only chance of winning races and a championship. According to British motorcycling journal MCN, Crutchlow has been given until Mugello to make up his mind.

A Factory Yamaha ride was not entirely out of the question for Crutchlow, but the young Briton has simply run out of time, as Yamaha ponder their options. The factory was open to Valentino Rossi's return, though the deal would surely have been tied to a sponsorship deal. After talks with representatives of Ducati's new owners Audi at the Sachsenring, Rossi seems inclined to stay put where he is. What price Rossi will exact for his signature is not known, but more important than the numbers involved will be the influence which Audi brings to bear in Borgo Panigale. If Rossi believes that Audi bosses can ensure that Ducatis follows the development direction Rossi wants, then the Italian is almost certain to stay. Part of his decision, however, is due to a lack of options elsewhere.

Yamaha's factory line up could end up unchanged, with Ben Spies showing his speed but not scoring results. Spies has financial support from Yamaha USA, and Dorna are keen to keep fast Americans in the series to help break into the US market. But those goals do not require Spies to be on the factory team: there is a chance that Spies could be moved back to Tech 3, though with full factory support, allowing either Valentino Rossi or perhaps even Andrea Dovizioso to move up to the factory team.

One question mark hanging over the Tech 3 team is what it is to be done about Bradley Smith. Tech 3 boss Herve Poncharal signed a two-year deal with Smith at the end of 2011, putting him in Moto2 for this season with the promise of a MotoGP ride in 2013. After Smith's mediocre start to the season, Poncharal has been making noises about breaking the contract, which sources close to Smith say contains cast-iron guarantees, and paying the legal costs of that afterwards. The uncertainty has certainly been good for Smith, the young Briton having shown more fight and scored consistently better for the past few rounds.

Smith's fierce rival in Moto2 Scott Redding could also make the move up to MotoGP. Redding's Marc VDS Racing team is currently in talks with Ducati over leasing a satellite bike, an option they had previously rejected over cost. Ducati have since drastically reduced the price of their satellite bikes - a necessity, given that Cardion AB have already decided that they will not be running a Ducati for 2013 and the Pramac squad looks set to disappear next season - and this may have persuaded them to make the leap. Redding is certain to get the nod if they do move up, though it is as yet unclear whether this will be a one or a two rider team, and whether Marc VDS Racing plays the role of Ducati Junior team played by Pramac in previous years.

The major casualty of all this looks like being Nicky Hayden. There does not appear to be any room for the American at a factory team, and none of the satellite squads have shown much interest in the 2006 World Champion. Hayden now looks set to join Carlos Checa and Max Biaggi in World Superbikes, and as he is about to turn 31, has a number of years in that series to try to become the first man to ever secure titles in both MotoGP and WSBK.

Below is what we think we know of the situation so far. Entries in italics have not yet been finalized, or are the current best guesses at the situation:

Team/Rider Bike/Length Notes
Repsol Honda Honda  
Dani Pedrosa 2014 Deal to be announced on Thursday
Marc Marquez 2014 Marquez will almost certainly sign up for two years
Factory Yamaha Yamaha  
Jorge Lorenzo 2014 Signed before Silverstone
Ben Spies/Andrea Dovizioso   The most likely scenario is that the second factory Yamaha seat will be shared between these two
Factory Ducati Ducati  
Valentino Rossi 2014? Rossi's options are running out, and if Audi gives Rossi guarantees about development, then he will probably stay.
Cal Crutchlow 2014 Almost certain to be signed at Mugello
Monster Tech 3 Yamaha Yamaha  
Bradley Smith 2013 Bradley Smith believes he has a contract to race with Tech 3. Herve Poncharal has said publicly he may be willing to go to court to get the contract torn up. If Smith ups his game, the point becomes moot
Andrea Dovizioso/Ben Spies   If Spies does swap with Dovizioso, he will probably receive factory material, funded by Yamaha USA
LCR Honda Honda  
Stefan Bradl 2013 Bradl has a two-year contract, 2012 is his first year.
Gresini Honda Honda  
Alvaro Bautista   Bautista is Gresini's best choice, given the available options.
Marc VDS Racing? Ducati Talks have started for this team, and it looks likely to happen. The question is whether this will be a one or two-year deal.
Scott Redding    


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I would WELCOME Hayden with open arms in WSBK as an equal fan of that series as much as I am of MotoGP.

But it's straight-up daylight murder how Hayden is being treated in MotoGP.


Nicky may not have the Rossi, Stoner or even Lorenzo "stigma" but all these new unproven upstarts that are getting the attention of the factory teams is sheer madness!!! Nicky has never burned any bridges and has always been the consumate "employee" - his results may not mirror the elite in the class since honda went to "pedrosaland" and Ducati lost their way, but he sure has been more productive this year than Rossi has on the Ducati ( I get Rossi's pull entirely ) sad sad sad...

I hate to say this, but the Aragon races in WSBK were waaaayyy more entertaining then any recent GP race. I would love to see Nicky get on familiar production based bikes and take it to WSBK - would be incredible racing and would make me change my annual destination to Laguna and go to Utah instead to watch him!!!

"but he sure has been more productive this year than Rossi has on the Ducati"

Except that Rossi is ahead in the points. Sorry, nothing against Hayden, I personally wish he could have a crack at the Tech 3 or Gresini bike.

no sorrys needed - you're right, in the end its a business as well - feel bad for Nicky is all.... wherever he ends up I will support him .... I respect his professionalism and his loyalty and will be a Hayden fan even after he calls it quits!!!

Already looking up prices for WSBK @ Miller next year.... maybe he ends up on a WSBK bike and does a "SPIES" in his first year..... would love to see that as part of his legacy - AMA, WSBK & MotoGP champ !!!!

Nobody in MotoGP or any other motorsport dont care for hard working riders. Honda admitted that Dani hard work on 800cc bike was exceptional. But without results they just don´t give a ****.

That is reality. Not just in motorsport but life in general. If you don´t shine, no matter the hard work, you are out!

I agree with you 100%. But don´t expect appreciation.

I never like Hayden. But after years at Ducati, with no results, just keep working and pounding ahead... I start to respect Hayden. His willpower, endurance, hard work ...

But we all know what real life is. There is no fairness.

I would rather see him in WSBK hunting down Biaggi then continue this hard work in MotoGP without any recognition.

Americans have great riders. Shame to not see them in action on top.


But it's straight-up daylight murder how Hayden is being treated in MotoGP.

More like your comment is 'unbelievable'.

Take an honest look at Hayden's competitive record, not only on the Ducati, but his entire MotoGP career. Easy prediction: Hayden will not podium this year on the Ducati. That would make exactly 3 podiums -- all 3rd place -- in four full years on the Ducati. How in the heck does such a poor record justify ANOTHER factory contract from Ducati? As I said before: competitively, Hayden has to be one of the most overrated riders in MotoGP history. Sheesh, even Melandri has nearly 2x as many wins as Hayden.

A great guy, but based on his competitive record (and surely that has to count for something, right?) he does not deserve another factory Ducati contract.

Anyway, a couple of points: I'd rather see Hayden stay than Rossi. But IMO Ducati should start fresh and not offer contracts to either Hayden or Rossi (and if Audi has big money to back Ducati, why do they need Rossi? -- all he does is badmouth his employer). As before, my preference would be to see Crutchlow and Iannone on the Ducati next year.

And I don't know if Crutchlow will be fast on the Ducati or not. But he'll certainly make a heckuva lot more money, which is reason alone to take the offer.

Hayden's podiums with Ducati, why wouldn't you check Rossi's podiums in 2 seasons with Ducati?
For the time they've been teammates, I bet the number will be the same, plus or minus one.
The difference is, if Ducati ever listened, even so slightly to a rider, it was certainly Vale not Nicky.

How can anyone say he is under performing at Ducati when his performance matches Rossi's?

Right now, Rossi 2 podiums, 210 points, Hayden 1 podium, 197 points.

These are poor performances indeed, but everybody knows that's how it goes with Ducati, unless your first name is Casey.

I said:

But IMO Ducati should start fresh and not offer contracts to either Hayden or Rossi...

True, Rossi is also a bust on the Ducati. And if I were Audi/Ducati, as I said I would not offer him a new contract either. Also in part due to his badmouthing.

Hayden and Stoner were teammates in 2009 and 2010. During those years, Stoner had 17 podiums, including 7 race wins (and he only competed in 13 races in 2009, and had -- count them! -- 5 DNFs in 2010), along with I don't know how many poles. All while Hayden was managing two 3rd places. So obviously, at least in those years the bike was not the problem. It was a competitive machine.

And what exactly is your logic? That because Rossi is crap on the Ducati they should keep Hayden? So then they could have two riders struggling for the top ten?

And if Ducati had to choose between the two as to who has the better chance to be at the front were the bike to be improved, then they'd have to pick Rossi.

...unless your first name is Casey.

Hopefully Ducati is not so dumb as to believe only one guy in the world can put their bike on the podium. They should be ready now to take a chance, as they did in 2007 when hired Stoner. They should say 'Thanks, good-bye, and good luck' to Rossi and Hayden, and start fresh next year with Crutchlow and Iannone.

You forget, last year Iannone tested the Duc and hated the experience so much he opted for another year in Moto2. I guess we'll have to see how either Hayden or Rossi fares next year if they land elsewhere. That will be the final verdict on the crap bike vs. diminished rider skills argument.

a time. Or something like that. Started following M/C racing as the games in auto racing got too much and now this happens to another Yank like me. Nicky's loyalty is both his biggest strength and downfall, witness the way both of his GP teams have "rewarded" his efforts. We have all been let go for not so good or good reasons. Unfortunately it seems to be Nicky's turn.

http://www.gpone.com/index.php/en/201207047460/Biaggi-Checa-Kings-of-the... (hope this is okay?)

GPONE page above talks about the WSBK Silly Season and how after his first ride on the new Duc Carlos is looking for a new team.

Of particular interest to me is the second BMW rider not being secure. Would love to see Nicky hold his head high and go to BMW.
Marco is doing pretty good there. If he could get a title that would be the one thing VR and the rest do not have. Might insure that VR winds up there one day. Also might help switch sales to BMW here although with their product lineup they are not hurting! If they do ever go to MotoGP, they could use him for testing as well as riding WSBK.

If Nicky is not with the Duc next year may they continue to live in interesting times!

Then it'll be a damn shame for Hayden. All he does is put in lap after lap, doesn't blast Ducati in public for not making changes fast enough, and rides his ass off. He deserves better than to be stuck with that bike this long and he certainly deserves better than to be booted off that bike.

He deserves better than to be stuck with that bike this long...

Why does he "deserve better"? Do you believe rider results ought to matter?

BTW compare the results of Stoner to Hayden's in 2009 and 2010 (see my post above) before you start blaming the machine. Or compare Hayden in 2008 to Pedrosa when they were on the same machine.

After this season, Hayden will have competed in MotoGP for 10 full seasons. During that time, he will have finished on the podium significantly less than 20% of the time (16% to be more precise). Assuming no podiums this year, in the last 6 years he will have scored a grand total of 8 podiums, including 0 wins and 1 second place. In 10 years, he will have won only 3 races.

That is not a good record. That is not a record that deserves a factory ride.

Because of his personality and all-round good-guy-ness, it would indeed be a shame to see him leave MotoGP. But his time as a factory rider should definitely be over. And it is also understandable that, as the blog proprietor suggests, given his poor record on factory machinery no satellite teams have interest either.

Best of luck to Nicky whatever happens.

Even as a massive Nicky Hayden fan I have to agree pretty-well completely with 'Eah' on this one. He's spent his entire motoGP career on factory machinery &, while he's always been great to have him in the championship & he's been entertaining and [mostly] competitive, his results don't merit another factory ride. Would love to see him on a decent satellite bike or a top-end WSBK ride. Nicky & Melandri going at it would make for some good spectating. I wish the guy well & hope he's on a competitive ride somewhere next season because I want to keep watching & supporting him, but based on results he [sadly] shouldn't be on a full-factory motoGP machine

Can you possibly SHARE a factory ride??? I've never heard anything so DAFT in all my life!!! That's laughable!!

This is yet more proof that Moto GP is FAR to expensive, thanks MSMA....good job.

If Nicky doesn't get some form of ride next year, if I was him, I'd march into Preziosi's office and lay a steamer on his desk. The way Ducati Corse have treated a VERY hard working and above all professional and QUICK rider is frankly disgusting.

I think by share and Spies/Dovi he actually meant one or the other. One will likely be on the factory team while the other is on Tech 3 with a third factory backed bike.

It is said, year in and year out, that Hayden is good for sales for his employer.  What if their revenue drops in the U.S. after this?

I suppose they'll have to put Hayden on an official 1199 Panigale for WSBK in 2014. And to truly make it up to the American market, they could fund an official AMA Superbike team.

They will put Nicky on the new 1199 Panigale along side Carlos. So in theory, it would only help to increase sales at Ducati of the new Panigale (which is already selling like mad). Maybe we'll see another Hayden edition Ducati.

I personally hate how this is unfolding especially for a dedicated rider like Nicky. I would love to see him start winning again even if it is in WSBK. Who knows maybe he would even come in at Valencia at the end of next year as a wild card rider and win (like Bayliss did in 2006)?!

rumor has it that Checa wasn't happy with the new Duc, and may be looking to move elsewhere. According to the guys over at Superbike Planet, he has been talking to both Kawasaki and BMW.
My fear is that the new Panigale will have the same debilitating issues as the GP12. Everyone goes on about how it was tested/developed by Troy Bayliss, but that doesn't mean they listed to Troy. If they wouldn't listen to Melandri, Stoner, Hayden, and now Rossi, why would they listen to Bayliss? The way I see it, the issue has to be somewhere in the fundamental "DNA" of the current design, and it's something that Presiosi is unwilling to change. As an analogy, let's say you were trying to build an airplane. The one common denominator amongst all of your competitors is the basic wing shape (what we know as the basic airfoil shape). Let's say you decided to go with a different shape and it barely flew. The pilot said the wings were the problem, but instead of changing the basic profile of the wings, you changed everything else: material, length, sweep, etc. Everyone would go one about how you've changed "everything" and it still won't fly. Maybe you need a new pilot........Of course you didn't change everything, you didn't change the wing profile. You stuck with your profile because some random computer program told you that if you could get it to fly it would win. You see where this is going. I think we have a similar situation at Ducati. There is something to that bike that is creating the issue, and it seems to be something the engineers or designer (I'm looking at you Preziosi) are loath to change.

As much ad i ride and encounter folks on Ducs, i have never, not once, heard of someone buying a Duc because of Nickey (outside of his special edition).

Let's face it. Ducs sold when markets were inflated, houses had equity and money was being lent cheaply.

Today, Ducati does an amazing job of product placement and you see their bikes in every major movie, etc. good on them. You may see the same Yamaha commercial for the past few years when Speed runs SBK and i can't recall seeing a Honda ad.

I Respect Nick for his work ethic and for what he did in 2006, but that ship has sailed.

I've never heard anybody say they drink Coke because of Santa, but stats show he remains one of their most succesful sales boosters.

Spot on about Hayden. The guy is truly a class act and a great representative for his employer. Even though I think he'd be disappointed to go to WSBK, I think he could thrive there. Cruthlow certainly deserves a shot at a factory ride, but I think going to Ducati will be a choice he regrets

...to an address where I can send Ducati some hate mail? Are they so arrogant to think that doing this to Hayden wont have an impact on their sales in the USA?

If they had a front running bike for the past 4 years I'd understand, but all they had was Stoner on a crappy bike.

don't forget they had Bridgestones, and Casey. The Michelin man was eating donuts instead of making better tyres.

Hayden has no manager, like Colin Edwards, has no apparent tools to deal with the politics/marketing required to stay at the top of the MotoGP game. Now, if a manufacturer was smarted they do a double with factory WSBK and (when possible) AMA Flat track in the states so Nicky could attempt to get his grand slam...

I can understand all of you guys being pissed at Ducati's treatment of a great rider like Nicky, he does deserve another year but those are the breaks and Nicky has had a long successful career in Motogp. No regrets on his part but he will miss it if he doesn't get another year.

As for the article peace, great job again Dave and would love to see what you have down for the CRT rumor mills?

Would love to see Nicky on a Panigale.

My comment wasn't geared towards Ducati specifically. It was more about what a Sisyphean career Hayden has had in GP since winning his title, regardless of how you feel about him having won it.

From Honda to Ducati, we always seem to find Hayden eventually in a position that he is hardly deserving of, and it's just a real shame for a professional and tireless workhorse like Hayden.

Even I'll admit that Hayden may not produce race-winning results race in and out, but he will produce results whether you shaft him (Honda), or give him little to work with (Ducati).

I'm a big fan of Hayden but I don't think it's the worst thing in the world that Ducati is replacing him with Cal Crutchlow. I don't think Cal will do any better on that bike, but maybe Ducati figures even if Cal performs the same as Hayden, he's younger and has more potential.

Another way to look at it is that Ducati is firing Hayden because they think Cal is better. Sure Cal is doing better than Hayden (and Rossi) right now but that is clearly because the M1 is a better bike. I don't think anyone in their right mind believes that Cal Crutchlow is better than Valentino. Similarly, I don't think Cal is better than Hayden. But, next season he'll have his chance to prove it.

It's just a shame because Nicky has worked incredibly hard for Ducati and never thrown them under the bus. What a rotten reward for loyalty and dedication. It's a shame Capirossi received the same treatment. At what point does Ducati stop firing high caliber riders and start firing the guy(s) responsible for creating the bike?

All fascinating stuff, thanks David. A week ago I'd have said to Cal stay with Tech 3, but if Duc are going to seriously develop thanks to Uncle Audi, he may well have hopped in at the right time.

And by trickle down, same to Scott Redding. I think he will be a really good Moto GP rider.

Who knows eh?

If Nicky is out of MotoGP so am I. I will become a bigger fan of WSBK and stop following MotoGP.

don't forget your coat and shut the door quietly please.

For the last few years Nicky has maintained his "country boy" image while all the while being paid rather handsomely (I'd guess $2-5m/year) playing 2nd banana to CS & VR.

Speaking as a long time fan, Nicky would never have won another title with the arrival of the aliens, so why all the "he's been treated badly"? He chose to stay at Ducati & ride an uncompetitive bike because he either wasn't offered a better bike..or a better paycheck.

Loyalty & hard work are not the most valuable assets to a MotoGP rider...POTENTIAL championship winner is & while Nicky's hard work did get him one, it wouldn't again.

As a racer, I'm sure he'll relish the opportunity to again race for championships in WSBK & still keep his investment portfolio intact.

RE: Cal @ Ducati. Insanity. WHY does anyone think that more "geniuses" (Audi) are going to fix what's wrong at Ducati? When have any car engineers accomplished anything in m/c racing? Talk about a clash of cultures.

Let us not blind ourselves into believing CC would sign with Ducati for a better (?) chance at a championship when the reality is purely financial gain (which is fine).

Very true Tumid. He has 3 wins in 10 years, all onboard Factory seats with Honda/Ducati. With Ducati he has 3 podiums in 4 seasons. Many riders have been let go with better results than this.

I hope he does go to WSBK. If he could be the first to win titles in each, that would be a big feather in his cap, and come with millions as a payoff.

RE: Cal @ Ducati

Audi could have a good influence on Ducati's Moto GP program, or make an even bigger mess. If they're smart, they won't stick their noses into the technical details of how to make a bike go fast. But maybe what they will do is a review of the management at Ducati Corse and potentially do some restructuring. With their experience in running the Le Mans team they could also do a review of Ducati's engineering practices from how they collect and review data, to their manufacturing tolerances, to their testing programs.

Ultimately it may result in Preziosi being demoted or even fired. I don't think that's necessarily the answer because if you fire him, who are you going to replace him with? Instead maybe having Audi be the boss will disabuse him and anyone else at Corse of their stubborness. And maybe give them a little more in the way of financial resources to work with.

Indeed, and its not just management and development as you rightly say, its budget, money and budget. I don't know the figure (and I admit I can't be assed to Google it) but I bet Ducati's turnover is not even 1/50th of Honda's, and also a fraction of Yamaha's.

Developing a winning GP bike takes above all a huge amount of money, and it doesn't matter that Audi don't make or race bikes, they'll leave that to those who they 'perceive' have the expert knowledge and management skills to do it.

Audi AG will fund this if they take the view that winning Moto GP will be reflected in the brand image, thence sales. They may even take the view (fingers crossed) that getting properly involved in WSBK is also worth it (i.e. red & branded bikes, not Althea bikes).

If that means some of the present lot get shown the door or 'spoken to', it will happen. It looks like Audi see Rossi as key to getting this started, as he is easily the world's most famous (I didn't say 'best' so's not to start the trolls off) rider.

When I think about him signing for Ducati, I can't help but compare it to Stoner signing in 2006. Now I'm not saying for a second that Stoner & Cal are on the same level.

But if you remember, CS27, in 2006 on a satellite Honda, showed blinding speed and some genuinely awesome results. He did also chuck that bike into the scenery an awful lot. It was his rookie year (and this is Cals 2nd), and he was a top 250cc rider before that (while Cal came from a good but not amazing WSB/BSB background) but there are some similarities between the two.

Cal has impressed with his speed this year but has also chucked the bike away too much already. His move to an under performing factory is being seen as cynical & cash-grabbing by some (I don't recall, was it the same for Stoner in 2006?) but there hasn't been a dry race winner on non-factory equipment since 2006 so the affirmation "You need to be on factory equipment to win" would seem to be true. Was Stoner just grabbing a quick buck by joining Ducati in 2006, or did he really foresee the amazing year he had in 07? (Nobody else did, thats for sure) The GP6 was a race winner and could have won the title that year in the hands of Capirossi but it was not a Honda RC212V which was THE bike at the time. With the move to 800cc the next year, surely Honda was a safer bet. CS27 was fast but a crasher, Ducati was competitive but not the best.

Cal leaving Tech 3 and THE 2012 M1 is similar I suppose. Maybe staying with a bike you know is almost impossible to win on (i.e. any satellite bike) would be more insane than joining a factory supported bike? I would put VR46 & AD4 ahead of Cal for the factory Yamaha ride so Ducati was his only choice for race wins for 2013.

Hows that for thinking outside the box?!

Audi will not add technical support. They will hit Ducati team with big financial support and demanded the results . Audi is VAG. And VAG is huge. They will give a lot of bucks (much more than Ducati was able to give). But they want Rossi in. That is great commercial for VAG. "Ducati was crap until we..." . They can get people with a lot of experience in MotoGP if that is necessary. Money can do a lot. So don´t underestimate the Germans. If they want war with Honda... that will be great for all of us.


Who says Ducati will fire Hayden? He would be an ideal candidate for a works WSBK ride next year if there is no place for him in the MotoGP squad.

F$ck that, I say leave Ducati and there crap behind. Hayden should be talking to BMW and should announce he's leaving the big red turd for a company that wants to win. Not play tradition and keep a designer that hasn't produced a race winning machine(outside of Casey riding it) yet. FP has screwed the pooch in WSBK by not getting a new bike ready for this year and continues to ignore requests of ALL it's riders. F$ck 'em. They are obviously worse than Honda.

I also feel badly for Nicky Hayden. I've been a fan of #69 for a long time. But look at it this way... Many folks think Honda should go in a different direction rather than re-sign Pedrosa, for the simple reason that Dani seems unlikely to bring home a championship. Dani is fast, he will win a few races, but cannot go head-to-head with Lorenzo for a season and get enough results to come out on top for the championship. I feel that way about Dani, and Honda would be justified IMO to drop him for someone who may do better over the next few years. And I hate to say it, being a fan of Hayden, but maybe his team does not think he is a future world champion riding their red bike. If I feel Honda should drop Pedrosa, how can I complain if Ducati drops Haydan? Like sucks sometimes, but that is how I see it. Sorry Nick, love ya man, and there are good options for you. Man, I hate that...

Let him go to WSBK, and leave all the sillyness in MotoGP, haha!

Besides, if Cal does go to Ducati and doesn't make it work, that should make for colorful commentary that would make Edwards blush. :)

Crutchlow will regret going to Ducati and Hayden might regret going to Ducati in WorldSBK. Rumor is the Corse Panigali is a dog and after riding it Checa started looking for another ride for next year.

Max will likely retire if he wins again this year and Nicky would look good on an Aprilia.

...lets gets this deal drawn up today!! I for one would love to see Nicky head to WSBK. Even if the circumstances that put him there are less than deserved for such a hard working guy. Even when he gets the boot (as I guess seems certain now) he still won't trash Ducati. He doesn't have the ego that comes along with some of these top level guys. He'll just step away and move on to something else, though probably secretly hoping Ducati regrets their move.

Nicky to WSBK is a best case for me. Watching Ben Spies destroy the field in '09 was probably the most exciting year of racing I have ever watched. On the edge of my seat through every race. I would LOVE to watch with that sort of excitement level again. Put him on a factory Aprilia and watch him go. I bet he would immediately be competitive.

And as for Ducati's bike sales in the US. I dont think having Nicky on a Ducati would make me more likely to buy one, but seeing his treatment after all he did might actually keep me from it. Maybe..

Good objectivity Tumid. Its hardly likely that Audi will redesign the Ducati into a 4 wheel drive !!!. Nick, well, like Capirex his time is simply over within factory team ranks and Capirex was fighting for the title in 2006 when he was in and around Nicky's current age on the bucking bronco 990.
For me,the only intrigue remaining is how Yamaha are going to shuffle Ben and Dovi. Cal is off to Ducati like a dirty sock and rightly so. Good on him. Even Burgess is saying he will be an asset to any factory team.
Lorenzo will prefer to have Ben alongside him,much like Rossi/Edwards. Keep the garage clean. If Dovi can garner some sponsorship which he richly deserves, 2 factory supported Yamaha's at Tech 3 is in the offing either way.
Repsol Honda. No issue there. Marquez is the closest to Stoner I've seen and with Dani alongside him,this announcement,when it comes,will hardly qualify as the surprise of the silly season.

It will be interesting to see what Yamaha does with that. If Nicky heads to WSBK then they really will want to keep Ben on for the American races. But Dovi is the one producing at the moment- 3 podiums and 4th in Championship. There were rumors Dovi had WSBK offers. If he doesn't get a factory ride or factory support maybe he will jump ship. I think Yamaha wants to keep both around. I sure wish Dovi would learn to qualify though.

There is no way a rider 4th in the championship and regularly on the podium would even consider WSBK for 1 second.
Except if he's old enough to want to retire from Grand Prix, which is certainly not Dovi's case.
Look around, most riders are ready to get on 2nd-rate bikes just to stick around in GP, no one would consider a WSBK ride be it factory instead of a satellite GP ride good enough for podiums.
Anyway, who of the GP riders actually in WSBK went there on the back of a successful (i.e. scoring podiums or even) season?
Biaggi, Guintoli, Melandri and Checa (Aoyama, Canepa...) did not have the choice, the latter three were miserable on 2nd or 3rd rate bikes. Biaggi was somewhat the exception, he was competitive but not able to secure a ride for 1 entire season before he resigned to switch over.
Even when the great Troy went back to his WSBK roots he had scored 1 podium in 27 races and was ranked 14th and 15th in the two previous seasons.

Audi will not want to lose any of Ducati's image and I think they could add a huge boost to the race team. They must see/hear all of the talk around Rossi/Burgess/Preziosi, incl. what we don't.
If they have persuaded Rossi to stay that's a huge boost for MGP(esp. after what BMW said) and whilst this is their first 2 wheel challenge they have shown an ability to adjust to a wide range of cultures, from engineering to nationality, without imposing an over-bearing solution, except for quality, good engineering, and results.
I agree that Hayden on a WSB would be good for Ducati USA etc. With some overspill from the MGP experience/programme he could turn the machine that David suggested Checa thought was not a championship winner in its first year into just such. Audi will want that too, surely?
Preziosi doesn't need to be sacked unless he shows he cannot take on board someone else's reasonable ideas/requirements. As in all mergers, Audi will ask him and everyone else if he/they can play their game.If yes - everyone can get back to work with renewed vigour and budgets. If not, someone else will. Porsche/Lamborghini have done some good engines I believe...
Cal is taking a risk (I think he's used to that!) but it could also be seen as a very smart move when he turns out to be both a good development rider and working with Rossi/Burgess in a resurgent team.
If Hayden does the same on the Panigale that would leave a lot of happy, smiley people, even Carlos. If not, is not up for discussion.
Audi might even bring some even-handedness/common-sense to the MSMA(?). Even better - someone who can stand up to Honda/Yam and work with Dorna to improve the whole show.Better than being like BMW and standing outside and complaining.
I would buy an Audi if they could do that.
Sounds good to me.

2 Factory supported Yamahas at Tech 3 merely implies the possibility of Rossi jumping ship to Yamaha,whether to be embraced by Poncharal's outfit or alongside Lorenzo.
Merely the Lorenzo/Spies/Dovi/Rossi permutation.
Bradly Smith...Dunno. Money talks.

There's only one way to show Ducati what we think of them for their shoddy treatment of Nicky. Boycott them. A drop in U.S. sales is what they deserve. Good luck to Nicky next year where ever he goes.

....what I really don't understand is how some of these Moto 2 guys are getting a chance when they haven't even won in that class! Other then Marquez, the other two FAST guys ..... I haven't even heard of anyone mentioning their names in regards to MGP. Are they that much cheaper? That's the only way I can see anyone getting offered a contract from M2....the teams can hire a M2 guy for 75% cheaper (or more) then someone already in MGP. David, any answers on this particular $$$ topic?

Ducati: IMHO, this 'team' is a total revamping of their engineering philosphy. Maybe Audi will bring this to Ducati, but at this point, I don't see much changing, unless something is going on behind the scenes (David?). Nothing, repeat, nothing, has changed to make their bike faster in two years with Rossi. As far as Cal goes, he's gambling ALOT that Audi will change the 'core' behind Ducati's team. Hayden has been beating Rossi the majority of the time and their dumping him! Again, interesting philosphy, other then Rossi bringing in $$$$. And yes, I'd LOVE to see Nicky in WSBK!

Yamaha: Rossi on a M1....with Spies going _______(?) and then who would be on the 2nd Duc?

Can't wait for all this to flatten out!

I'm actually more disappointed that Honda has resigned Pedrosa - I get the Repsol connection but how many years do you give a factory bike to a consistent non winner? He gets a win or two here or there but based on his past performance and the fact that Maquuez is a newbie to MotoGP, Honda will not be getting much play next year which I'm sure won't make them happy.

Oh well .. at least we still have Casey to watch for a bit.

How can be possible than guy than now will have like 8 years in the leader class can continue like nothing, certainly pedrosa has developed the RC, ¿but he won a WC?, mmmmm. let me see. well no, foreigners in HRC has won a WC with it, Stoner and hayden become champions having pedrosa as team mate. even pedrosa turn mad a causes a fall to hayden that time, but what is just plain silly is than HRC continues to allow and mantain a person than dont make that extra effort to win a championship, it's a something type of masochist relationship in the team surrounding him.

So its like than another 7 years will pass until a second rider in HRC comes in and win a championship again.

Dani is in MotoGP from 2006. What 8 Years you are talking about? And look at his number of wins, podiums, pole positions, fastest race laps... vs his time out of race coz of crashes. If he had crash like Jorge last time, he would brake something. Bad. Part bad luck, part his body. And if you are prone to brake something in every crash... you get scared. Not so much for your self but more to lose championship. More the others who get far less bad stuff from crashes. Nicky is champion. Dani is not. Now compare number of wins, podiums, fastest laps etc. Dani have a lot of bad luck. But he is no average rider. It is just combination of circumstances.

True I am fan and I am biased. But really who would you put aside Marquez in HRC? Dovi, Cal, Spies, Hayden ... ? If we take out Jorge and Rossi the next best rider is Dani. Fact.


Is it just a coincidence the way Pedrosa rode last weekend, or does he have a bit of the Elias tendency to give it everything only when necesary? Looks like it's paid off, if he gets signed at Mugello.

Not at all.
This is a circuit where Dani is extremely strong and if nothing goes wrong it's almost unbeatable. He won last three years in a row and even back in 2007.
Lorenzo was slow because of the tyre issue.
Stoner went down.
Rossi is on a bike that doesn't work.
Dani had no external issues/problems.....
He'd have very likely won even if the other 3 so called 'aliens' were in the mix .... well Stoner was for most of it and the last lap tells the story.

Unfortunately (for Dani) they race there only once a year .... but that's just one of his favourites tracks ... it's a coincedence that on the calendar it was close to signing time.

Lack of options for Rossi? I think not... I don't think that the signing of Pedrosa and Marquez has reduced/changed Rossi's options at all. He was never going back to HRC....he nor HRC were interested, they hadn't even made contact. The only option on a Honda bike was with Gresini or privateer single rider team like his Nastro Azzuro days.....with full factory support of course.

Obviously, Crutchlow, Spies, Dovizioso and Hayden's future still hangs in the balance only to be decided by one man.

That door at Yamaha seems to be wide open and even Yamaha have a particular interest in the Mugello test and one particular "new" desmo V4 engine at Laguna.

I personally would like to see Rossi back on the M1. I think it would be better for everyone. Cal and Nicky on factory Ducatis is what I'd like while Rossi and Lorenzo on factory Yamahas. But we'll have to wait and see.

But I'm afraid Rossi will stay at Ducati and Nicky will lose out the most....

Nicky on the Panigale would be awesome though!

I feel kind of sorry for the Tech3 team. I think it's a great team, and they're doing very well, but nobody seems to want a seat there.
Simoncelli had a factory bike at Gresini, and there are talks about a factory bike for Spies at Tech3, so why care so much about what color the bike is? I'd take a Tech3 ride any day!

i am surprised hayden has no chance at tech 3 it seems. up until assen i was thinking/hoping maybe poncharal would be interested in getting hayden.

maybe hayden should ditch ducati totally and somehow convince yamaha to rejoin WSBK and be their rider. only this time yamaha would need to take WSBK more seriously and make serious investments unlike in the past when most of the seasons yamaha just didnt have the money to develop their WSBK project as much as they could/should have. they still dont have that much money though. a very good american rider who is hardworking and sincere and is well known and is also very marketable..that'd be some pretty good marketing strategy for yamaha to please USA, which is good enough a reason for them to rejoin WSBK with a good competitive team.

The main reason to maintain to Pedrosa in HRC is that this guy knowns how work the Honda machines very very deep, and it is basic for develop (more now that every year something is changing), Honda can not give a bike to Marquez without somebody close to develop.

Pedrosa, Edwards and Checa are the best guys to develop bikes. With very high sensitives.

And of course, if Pedrosa get no crash in couple seassons he will win the champion (but it will be casuality, same that Nicky won the world).

Many times i can read infinity reasons why Hayden is not wining, but the reality is simple, he is fast, but not enough. If you review the 1 and second seasson from Stoner, Pedrosa and Lorenzo, they was really fast from the beginning, from the first race.

How many people was with Pedrosa face to face?, that is incredible how with his size and injures he can dominate the machine.

Ducati is the career killers for riders so why even bother trying to win a championship with them in MotoGP? Hayden is the No.2 rider afterall. He's not supposed to be performing better than Rossi on the same machinery anyway!? Oh-Wait, he has been doing just that! When Nicky walks away, he can do so with his head held high... more than any other rider not named Stoner! I'm on the phone ready to make a deal to trade-in my Ducati right after the contracts are signed and Hayden is not on the team!

....the most probablities of Lorenzo WC in 2013

The guy is on rails, way mature, smooth as butter, with a good bike and experience...Yamaha was wise in grabing him early.

There are 2 Nicky Hayden's;
1. The tireless worker who is an excellent PR for his employers
2. The under performing factory rider.

I think Nicky is a great guy, I've even got a NH Tissot Ltd edition T-Race watch (very nice too) but you have to look at this from a practical and pragmatic view point.

Nicky's stats don’t hold up;- 3 podiums on a Ducati, compare that to Loris Capirossi on the Desmo with 23 podiums (including 6 wins), never mind 17 podiums (with 7 wins) for Casey Stoner in '09 & '10 when he wasn't well......

Anyone can check those stats on the MotoGP web site.

Ducati need to change the MotoGP line up but don’t confuse Ducati with a bunch of muppets - they are acutely aware of the value of good high profile American riders. Ducati offered Colin Edwards a Factory WSB for 2011. Edwards didn't take the ride and the team got broken up as it wasn't working, 2010 being a horrendous year for Ducati in WSB they felt it was time to start again.

It was only a couple of weeks ago that a U.S. member on here posted that most Americans dont really understand prototype racing with the majority preferring silhouette / production cars & bikes that look like what they can buy in the showroom.

So fast forward to 2013 and imagine a likeable PR aware American rider from a Superbike background riding the wheels of a Factory Panigale in WSB winning and possibly taking the championship........... is this valuable to Ducati????? Hell, he might even get a pay rise.

Let's be subjective. How many podiums has Rossi scored on it? How did Capirossi do on it last year?
Rossi is a nine time world champion who was bashing fairings with Lorenzo right before leaving Yamaha. I don't think he suddenly lost his speed when he moved to Ducati. Think about it, on the Yamaha in 2010 he went from 11th to victory in Sepang, yet he's only been able to put the Ducati on the podium twice, in the wet. Meanwhile Stoner leaves Ducati and manages to go all season without crashing in a race (save for the incident with Rossi) and takes the Championship in dominating fashion. Was Stoner suddenly faster and more consistent, or was it the bike? Personally, I think it was the bike. Stoner showed in Germany that he is still a "Go for broke" all out racer, it's just that he's finally got a bike that will let him do it.
Rossi has 105 GP wins, 79 in the premier class. That's just over 7 wins per season in GP, yet in a season and a half on the Ducati no wins. Meanwhile, he has 140 premier class podium finishes. Yet only two since moving to Ducati. Is it time for Rossi to go?
At some point you have to realize that statistics are only part of the story, and often times, a very incomplete one.

Sorry Kentucky man. No wins, no bike for you! EBR and Hayden in SBK? One last thing. Can some of you keep these posts shorter than the article? THX.

I read elsewhere that his team were switching chassis builders and maybe engines too! Either a Honda or Aprilia engine?! Anyone have any insight about their status? Maybe Colin could go back to WSB...

Nicky Hayden may well be a "tireless worker", he may say all the right things. But he doesn't win races. And he hasn't been in a race winning position for a very, very long time. When he was signed by Repsol Honda as team-mate to Valentino Rossi in 2003, there were many who thought Colin Edwards should have got that ride. Edwards had won the Superbike World Championship on the Honda RC51 (1000cc V-twin) TWICE (2000 and 2002). Hayden had finally won the AMA Superbike Championship on the RC51 in 2002 after three seasons of trying to beat Mat Mladin's Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R750. Hayden went from AMA Superbike straight to a factory MotoGP ride and if it were not for his nationality, he would not have been in that position, nor would he have been kept on for so long. Four years on the most successful MotoGP yet built (Honda's 990cc V5) which scored 48 race wins, Hayden's tally was three (3). Read it and weep. But he won Honda the final 990cc MotoGP title, beating Honda defector (and critic) Valentino Rossi in the process. Sure, Rossi (and team-mate Edwards) had chatter-induced handling problems and Rossi had a front Michelin deflate at Shanghai (remember, there used to be a MotoGP round in China?). Rossi had three DNFs that year, and also started the season behind on points after Toni Elias clipped his rear wheel in the first corner at the first round (Jerez) and put Rossi into the gravel (Spanish pay-back?). Rossi retrieved his Yamaha and rode to a 13th place finish. Capirossi won that race (lead from start to finish on the Ducati) and Pedrosa was runner-up in his MotoGP debut, beating Hayden who struggled to hold off Elias and Melandri on satellite Hondas. All told there were seven (7) riders who won MotoGP races in 2006, so Hayden showed great consistency to beat Rossi to the title, especially after Pedrosa took him out at the penultimate round. Perhaps that's what kept Hayden on a Repsol Honda for another two years. But six (6) years on a FACTORY Honda and just three race wins. Now it's another four years on a factory bike (Ducati) and not one race win. He has scored just three podium finishes on a factory Ducati. You may like the bloke, but c'mon, who else has had such a long tenure as a factory rider with so little to show for it? In the old (Oguma) days at HRC, he would have been gone after two seasons. Perhaps HRC should have given Edwards that Repsol ride in 2003 afterall...

Thought with the 'serial under achiever' title you we're referring to Dani. Without Casey, it may be an interesting (if financially lucrative) relationship between HRC and team Spain next year, especially at the rounds where Dani's determination waivers and Marquez is still learning. There's a little bit of Elias in Pedrosa, got his timing right again last weekend by the look of it.



Very likely right. Indy entertained a WSBK round before they re-signed for GP anyway. If NH goes to WSBK, I could see a second US round.

Given his deep personal pockets he can afford practically any prototype, but I also seem to remember someone saying that the prototypes are limited to 4 per factory?

If the limit of 4 is incorrect then things may not be as cut and dried as they now appear, I think Abraham would like to go with a Honda and give himself a break from the gravel rash he regularly experiences with Ducati. This would leave a couple of satellite Dukes available around the paddock. The new home for Hayden maybe as development rider/racer at a factory equiped Ducati satellite team (Audi certainly wouldn't say no to American). I'd put Espargaro or Luthi next to him.

Rossi and Stoner at the Duke factory for 2014...

I'd like to see Karel stay in the series - despite wide criticism of his place there I believe he has proven that he has the ability and the tenacity to be a regular. I enjoyed his spot in the commentary booth a few races ago too, he's a good guy.

Can't see him getting a Yamaha or Honda though - the existing arrangements don't seem to allow for it. And I think he'd prefer to keep a Ducati than go to a CRT at this stage.

All I can see is a brave kid trying his heart out, he is on the worst prototype out there. He seems to be quicker on a bad bike than people give him credit for...

He gets some criticism, not many realise though, its his money and he can do what he wants with it - unless Daddy changes his mind of cause. Embracing the ideals of capitalism means he has every right to compete.

I dont think I've ever met anyone who could make the claim that if they had the money they could ride in a GP, and not make a fool of himself! And I've met many A graders etc and they all say the same thing. The genuine GP racers will lap you about every 3 laps on identical bikes and pinch your backside as they go past - so Karel can ride!

Where he'll be mid pack. Lol.

I like Karel as a person but he just doesn't have it for GP. If he did, he'd be fighting with Babera, not the gravel every race.

I don't care how many wins, how many podiums, how many DNFs or how many excuses people have for why he won the WC. Nicky has EARNED the right to stay in MotoGP. Numbers speak volumes. Would love to see a Petition floating around to show support for Nicky. GP is a small community and Carmelo Ezpeleta likely doesn't give a sh*t, but it would be nice to show Nicky the support.

If Ducati can't get their bike competative then Nicky is wasting his time there.

Would love to see him ride the daylights out of an Aprilla or BMW in WSBK then come back to MotoGP on a Schwantz led Suzuki team.

Seems to me that it's an obvious option. Fausto Gresini has said in the past that he'd prefer an Italian rider and implied that Bautista was there for a transitional period.

Rossi could go to Honda and climb aboard a factory Honda. It would be a face-saving option: Honda gets Rossi back, while not officially accepting him into the fold. Rossi gets to say he went to Gresini in memory of his friend Marco. Everyone's happy, except probably Repsol, who might not like having such a strong competitor on the same bike as their riders. And Bautista, who'd have to go elsewhere (why not Ducati, in place of Rossi?).

Opinion, David? Bear in mind I correctly predicted straight after Simoncelli was killed that Bautista would get the ride ...

Crutchlow should consider himself lucky to keep his Tech 3 seat. Not that he isn't deserving, but that so many are deserving of a competitive ride. I think the Tech 3 bike could be ridden by Lorenzo to his same record.

All three of the non-JLo Yamaha riders have shown their speed with Dovi being the most even keeled of the bunch. A win from any of them may require one of the top 3 falling off, but each has an equally likely chance to be in the position to seize that opportunity. I'd like to see Bautista on a Yam and Rossi with Gresini. It fits best if 46 decides to not stick with Ducati.

Nicky should look forward to WSBK challenges. He'll probably draw the same paycheck, have a chance at winning and wash his hands of the series where the likelihood of him ever being on a truly competitive ride is very very slim, factory Ducati contract or not. He'll still be able to travel in style, have legions of fans, get invited to F1 pits, Goodwood and the IOMTT as a VIP. I'd bet that one could find him on a Honda as soon as 2014 when HRC pulls something out of their hat for a street bike. Though instead of riding his bicycle through Tuscany, he'll be training at Suzuka this week.

How about Crutchlow and Redding in the factory Ducati team in '13?! New blood, no expectations of how it should handle, just youthful exuberance and plenty of spares.

I wonder if the time has come for them to part ways. Can it still be a happy House when things are down to luck? The speed is there but it is all tooften something stupid (not just this year) messing things up. Last year Ben had a reasonable season. A win and just missing our on a second. While I do admit there was too much lost opportunity on that was on Ben's shoulders but by the end of 2011 he was fast.

Has Houseworth been able to keep up with the factory engineers and does he have the backing of US Yamaha to tell the engineers where to stick it if he or Spies want to go another way? If not maybe Ben needs a new way to go. As it is, lets say Ben is the weak link of the team and House would like to stay in GP. If Spies continues to faulter, what options would House have in the paddock?

I think Spies is in no better shape than Nicky. What is the point of going to WSB? I would watch because I like the series but what do either have to gain? Also, to continue a rant, Dovi has had a shot on a factory team already and basically faired no better than Spies is doing now. I don't know that he is a shoe in for the Yamaha factory team. That next step up is a big one.

has the stones to ride the Ducati hard enough to make it work, a bit like Stoner. It's also something Rossi has acknowledged that he is not prepared to do.
Much as I like Haydens character and work ethic.............perhaps it's time for him to move along, I thought he'd gotten lucky with the Ducati ride to start with. I just hope he doesn't ride a duc in wsbk.

Rossi is experienced enough to know when to push. Rossi meant was that he's not prepared to bin the bike half the year just to pull out the occasional podium or win because you don't win a championship like that. As proof see Ducati's results the last few years that Stoner was on it. In 2010, with Rossi missing 4 rounds, he still placed higher in the championship than Stoner in his last year on the Ducati. He meant that crashing with the possibility of breaking his body to shit isn't worth it just to still lose the championship. I think some have taken that quote and made what they wanted to hear out of it. I'll never understand someone doubting a rider who has more premier class wins than Ago, or anyone else in the history of the premier class for that matter. Remember that Stoner had to leave Ducati to get a competitive bike again.

I agree with what you are saying regarding pushing on a lackluster bike. However, Stoner was still winning races the year he left. He was still very competitive on the Duc. He knew the Honda would be better though with more resources as he stated. Rossi can't even break consistent top 5's on a Ducati that is supposed to be more rideable. I was just at Assen and he appears to be riding very hard. You can see him fighting the rear for grip, stepping out all the time. However, I just wonder if he could keep up with those guys anymore on any bike of his choosing? Rough couple years on the confidence.

Will Burgess retire at the end of this session? If so, whom would Rossi go with?

Guy Coulon! everybody loves this dude, edwards, spies, dovi...

Love Hayden too, great guy, but saying that he constantly beats Rossi is funny... beats him in what?? You mean in the grid?ok, there you may have a point but... look at the figures, keep it simple.

i can't take another miserable ducati performance year... please, do whatever you whant, choose the riders you need, but let's go!

Rossi should leave and find a decent ride, time's running short and we need him for the show.

What's really sad about this (as in other recent years) is that there's no room for the riders who pack 4th to 15th in the championship and realistically there are only 4 rides available that are capable of winning the championship. So we have people like Hayden (and Melandri, and ) being shown the door. People like Crutchlow or Bautista unable to get a competitive ride. And this year's great white hope getting a factory ride when perhaps they don't actually deserve it just yet. MotoGP needs decent rides for the middle order and it needs that middle order otherwise we might as well just have 3 bikes on the grid.

Hardworking? Absolutely.

PR Dept's dream? Without question.

Good person? Based on my very limited interaction with the guy, absolutely.

Fast? Fast enough to win a championship, and that's a fairly short list of people.

Deserving of a factory GP ride? Debatable. Based purely on results, probably not.

Is Ducati treating him like garbage? No. He's been paid well, without really producing results. And he's elected to stay with Ducati despite their inability to build a competitve bike. We don't know what talks are going on behind the scenes. If he is being offered a factory WSBK ride aboard the new Panigale, I'd say that's a helluva lot better than anything else available in GP. And even if they kick him to the curb, it's not like he's gonna be sign flipping out front of 2nd Chance Auto. He'll find a ride.

I think Spies has earned at least one more year on a factory bike. If in the Tech3 garage with YamUSA money and factory equipment, so be it. That almost makes more sense to me, since he's sponsored by Monster. If the results don't come next year? Thems the breaks, kid.

Crutchlow is a wildcard, and I can't blame Ducati taking a chance on him. Hell, they need to do SOMETHING different. The bike is a bitch, the Bologna Braintrust (read: FSM) seems lost, Rossi is pissed... might as well shake things up. Maybe with Cal on board, VAG money, and Stoner off playing house, the dream of a VR46/Ducati championship still has the slightest of chances at becoming reality.

I think Nicky Hayden is a rider who is more the percentage building sort rather than brilliant or incredibly talented like Casey Stoner. Even if you look at his World Championship winning year 2006, it is quite clear that he benefitted from mechanical failures that Rossi suffered. I don't think it would be a great loss to MotoGP if he goes but it also not a bad thing if he stays on. Pedrosa has not done wonders on the Honda and if he can continue in the championship there is no reason why Hayden cannot. If I were Crutchlow I would take the Ducati offer simply because it could mean a ticket to better things if he can get the Ducati to work for him but his career will not have been destroyed since he will get a maximum of one year at Tech3 if at all he has a chance for 2013. Should Rossi continue on the Ducati, I don't think so. He should retire and give way to new talent. He has been around long enough and has proved everything. It is just pointless chasing numbers.

By comparison, jump on a Ducati, Aprilia, BMW, Kawasaki, or Honda in WSBK and you have a legitimate chance of winning.

My problem with Ducati's dumping of Hayden is
1) he has been the best #2 rider at Ducati in the past several years
2) he has actually been the lead Ducati in terms of laps from all sessions this year

People keep comparing him to Stoner on the Ducati and you can't really compare anyone to Stoner on the Ducati. I compare him to the recent past Ducati riders and when looked at in that manner, he should be a keeper for Ducati.

Granted Crutchlow is young and may represent the future, but who is to say this year isn't just a one off on a great bike. He may get on the Ducati and fall on his face like a lot others jumping to the Italian manufacturer.

Nicky has already proven semi-competitive on a crap bike.

My other issue is that even though he has been a factory rider, he has never ever truly been the #1 Factory rider. He should have been #1 in 2007, but Honda had already put their hopes on Pedrosa and built the midget bike.

Speaking of Pedrosa, I think Honda is making a mistake pinning their 2013 World Championship hopes on Pedrosa and Marquez. Marquez will be quick but won't be able to win it in his first year. He is the future. Pedrosa will be quick as usual, but I don't think he has what it takes to beat Lorenzo enough to get the job done. If Honda want a chance in 2013, the only person left riding that has shown they can go toe to toe with Lorenzo is Rossi, but HRC is going to let their pride get in the way.


I didn't know I was being critical of Crutchlow, I'm just saying I haven't jumped on the bandwagon yet. ;)

I will say his performance on the Satellite Yamaha has been nothing short of spectacular; however, I think the satellite Yamaha is darn good bike and probably not too far off from the Factory Yamaha. We must remember that these are all brand new machines and I'm sure Yamaha didn't develop a lesser spec bike for the Satellite team. As the year progresses, I expcect that to change as the Factory gets the new stuff and truly becomes a better bike.

If I was truly a fan of Crutchlow, I would be wishing he would stay with Tech 3 because short term I think he would have better results because as of yet, the Factory Ducati cannot even put up a fight with the satellite Yamaha and this is after a year and a half of Rossi/Burgess direction/input (whether it is being listened to is another matter). Even if it does come right, he still has to contend with being Rossi's teammate.

Long term it may be the best decision for him, but we have all heard the 'career killer' words many times. Surely it has to come good sometime. Maybe next year will be the year.

So nothing against Crutchlow, he has proven himself suited for the Yamaha and I am really surprised the Factory Team isn't picking him up and who is to say they wouldn't if his form continues and Spies' does not, but the problem is Ducati want an answer now. My point is that the Ducati is a major unknown and there is no knowing how he will go on it. The next Stoner (win)? The next Hayden (descent)? or the next Melandri (backmarker)?

I've been a Hayden fan for years and its hurt to see how he's been second fiddle - even when he won in 2006.

Frankly, I've become much more interested in WSBK than MotoGP this year and I expect that will continue next year so I can't wait to see Nicky having a chance to be competitive again.

... just don't want to see him on a lame Duc again. Aprilia is probably too much to ask but he does have a history with Honda so maybe alongside Johnnie Rae?

Can't wait!