Nicky Hayden On Cal Crutchlow: The Right Attitude, But His Style Is Not Like Stoner's

Cal Crutchlow's offer of a factory ride at Ducati moved from conjecture to established fact at Assen, Crutchlow tacitly acknowledging that the factory which had offered him a contract was indeed Ducati. Though Crutchlow is waiting on an offer from the factory Yamaha team before giving Ducati an answer - Crutchlow is directly behind Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa in the Silly Season pecking order - he is believed to be very keen to take the ride, regarding a factory ride as the only chance he has of having a shot at being World Champion.

At Barcelona, when asked by whether the plight of the many top riders that have struggled on the Ducati worried him, Crutchlow told reporters it did not, saying that the similarities between his own riding style and Casey Stoner's made him optimistic he could learn to ride the GP13. "If I looked at my riding style and Casey's riding style, how we open the gas, how we brake, stuff like that, obviously he's a second a lap faster most of the time, but it's similar," Crutchlow said. "And as he's the only one who's been able to ride the Ducati, then I'm not scared to maybe take a chance and go there, no."

When Stoner himself was asked whether he thought Crutchlow's style was similar to his own, the Australian said to be careful of comparisons. "Everybody said Marco's [Melandri] style was similar to mine, and we saw what happened with that," Stoner said. "I don't think anyone has a similar style, everyone has their own DNA. Cal brakes a lot later than me and takes different lines to me, so I think the only thing that looks similar sometimes is that we're a bit more ragged than other people, but as far as style goes, I don't think we have a similar style, we just don't mind the bike moving around."

Nicky Hayden, the man Crutchlow has been penciled in to replace at Ducati, had an opportunity to examine Crutchlow's style in depth at Assen, after Crutchlow spent a number of laps mixing it up with the factory Ducatis of Hayden and Valentino Rossi and the Pramac satellite machine of Hector Barbera. Speaking a little more freely than usual, Hayden's place at Ducati having been offered to Crutchlow while the American's option to extend with Ducati had been allowed to lapse by the Bologna factory, Hayden expanded on what he had seen of Crutchlow's style in this race and on previous occasions.

"Yeah, I rode a lot with Cal today, but I don't know," Hayden told reporters, when asked if he thought what he had seen of Crutchlow's style resembled that of Hayden's former Ducati teammate Stoner. "Of course Cal has got the right attitude, he's not going to give up real easy, but today he was fighting that Yamaha a lot to be racing with me. Obviously he got a bad start, but he's not going to have to fight that Ducati any less," Hayden said. "I know people say he rides a lot like Stoner, but, from where I'm sitting I don't see him riding a lot like Stoner. From what I watched there's a little difference there." Hayden was keen to emphasize that he was trying to be impartial, and his impressions had nothing to do with his own contractual situation with Ducati. "I don't want to sound like a hater, just because they're offering him my bike, but we'll see, I guess," Hayden said.

"Cal beat me, he's a good rider obviously, but to say he rides like Stoner, I'm not sure," the American continued, going on to explain what he had seen of Stoner's style. "When people talk about Stoner, they say you gotta be aggressive, and really work that Ducati. But when you saw Stoner go fast on the Ducati he let the bike move, the bike moved but he didn't. He was smooth. You know, his body, he never fought the bike, he let the bike just move under him. Where Cal, the bike moves, but also he moves a lot." Crutchlow had at least part of the equation, Hayden said, and that was the correct attitude. "Of course it's interesting, and he's got a lot of potential, and certainly got the right attitude, he's not gonna give up the first couple of crashes, but it would be interesting to see."

If Crutchlow's style was not similar to Stoner's, one veteran reporter asked, whose style was it similar to? Hayden had to think about that for a while, before opining that Crutchlow's style was rather unique. "I think he's kinda got his own style," Hayden said. "I mean, Cal's fast, he's beaten me just about every race this year, so I'm gonna look silly to say anything. I mean he rides hard, and that's the one thing this bike needs, somebody to be aggressive, to heat the tires. But to say who he rides like? I'd say he really rides like Cal, he has his own style which obviously works for him."

Whether Crutchlow's style is similar to Stoner's or not, and whether or not it will work with the Ducati remains to be seen. If Crutchlow gets the offer of a factory ride from Yamaha, his preferred option, we may never find out. If he does decide to switch to Ducati, gambling on Borgo Panigale's ability to improve the bike - possibly with the assistance of Ducati's new owners Audi - then We should know by Qatar 2013 just how successful his style is with the Desmosedici.

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If Cal does get Nicky's seat where would this leave Nicky to go? Tech 3 perhaps?

I would not expect Tech 3 to be interested in Hayden. It just does not seem their style -- meaning to go after a former factory rider. They are more of an outfit that takes promising younger riders and grooms them for a later factory ride.

For the record, Hayden is a very likeable guy, and I would be sorry to see him leave MotoGP. You really never hear him badmouth the bike and/or his employer (i.e. their efforts -- or lack thereof -- to improve the bike), unlike Rossi. For that reason, if Crutchlow accepts, I'd actually prefer to see Ducati retain Hayden and let Rossi move elsewhere.

But as I've also said before, no one could blame Ducati management for deciding that four years of mediocrity from Hayden is enough. And Ducati definitely does not want to be left with Hayden as their lead rider.

Tech 3 has done that before. They had Colin Edwards (the ex-factory guy) "mentoring" Ben Spies (the promising younger rider) a couple of years ago. There's no particular reason they couldn't do it again, other than the fact that everyone seems to want a Yamaha next year, and there are only 3 seats left currently.

I was reading an article somewhere else, I think (OK, not sure where I read it, but I didn't make it up), but Nicky said something along the lines of "...I have offers, but I want to stay in MotoGP..." Is he being linked with a WSBK ride somewhere? Perhaps Ducati's return in an official capacity?
It seems Tech 3 is quickly becoming the place to be in MotoGP, with Herve in a great situation to take his pick from up-and-coming as well as already-established riders.
Remember, Nicky IS a world champion and he does sell bikes in the U.S., two facts that should keep him on everyone else's short list should Ducati decide it's time to give a Brit a chance (and if they can keep Vale).

That poor Nicky's been through with that bike and not said a WORD if they drop him then this is just about the limit for me and Ducati. It would be a DREADFUL way for a very hard working and loyal employee to be treated imo

Stoner was winning races and sitting on pole with the same machine. So I just don't get where all the sympathy for Hayden comes from -- the readiness to blame the bike. Also, I don't recall people cutting Melandri the same slack, although he's won more MotoGP races than Hayden -- almost 2x as many, in fact -- and is not that far behind in podiums.

Melandri was considered the "problem" because at the time it looked like that. Now it's obvious that the issue is with the bike and the fact that it worked for a single guy is the problem. As a matter of fact now Marco is quoted as another confirmation that the problem lies with Ducati ... which proves that it is recognised that he was not the issue. Marco is a great guy and so is Nicky (one of my favourite ones).
Only a few today still believe Melandri needed a shrink!

You are making the same mistake that Ducati did, thinking that it was the bike that made Stoner successful, rather than Stoner understanding how to ride around the problems and win despite the bike. If Stoner had not signed for Ducati, things might have worked out very differently, his genius disguised the problems with the bike. Rossi in the wet looks like the Rossi of old, and so clearly most if not all of the old talent is still there. He has experience, he has a proven record, he won a race with a weak shoulder that needed surgery in 2010. And now, he's riding around behind the satellite bikes. Viewed in the light of Stoner's results, Hayden looks pretty mediocre. Viewed in the light of Rossi's results, Hayden has done an outstanding job. It seems reasonable to assume that Stoner is the anomaly here.

Thanks. Perhaps you overlook the fact that Capirossi also won races on Ducatis, meaning more than a few. In 2006 he was on the podium for 8 of the 17 rounds. And remember Bayliss' one-off win in the last round of 2006. Talented riders both, but good machinery too.

...rather than Stoner understanding how to ride around the problems and win despite the bike.

Question for all the Rossi fans: Is it too much to expect that he could do the same? Meaning more 'riding around the problems' and less complaining?

IMO Ducati has shown they are a pretty competent racing and engineering organization. Of course overall it also seems clear the bike is not for every rider. But Stoner could not have done as well as he did if it was not a good machine. Look what happened to Capirossi on a lesser bike at Suzuki.

The bikes were very different in 2006. The horsepower the 990s had made a massive difference, and Capirossi at the time complained about a very similar problem, of a lack of front-end feel. The horsepower and custom tires allowed riders to ride around problems much more. In 2007, Capirossi had 1 win and 2 more podiums, and finished 7th in the championship. The much peakier 800s didn't allow for that to happen.

As for what Rossi should or should not be able to do, that is irrelevant, and the kind of argument that ends up with me deleting a mass of comments as the two camps start slinging mud. 

The bikes were very different in 2006.

Yes, and? A rider has to try to adjust to the entire package: bike, tires, etc.

As for what Rossi should or should not be able to do, that is irrelevant...

I don't understand this comment: Are you suggesting that a team that employs a rider should not have expectations for that rider? Exepctations about both on-track performance and off-track demeanor? That such expectations are "irrelevant"? Or just "irrelevant" in the case of Rossi on the Ducati?

A bit of a strange view...

The whole point here is performance. Personally, I hope the teams have expectations, and enforce those expectations by honestly evaluating performance, including their own, and consistently make efforts to not only improve their machines but also to find the best riders for their machines.

There was a difference in bikes from the 990s to the 800s. The 990 seemed to work better for all the riders on it. Once they moved to 800s the bike just was not as up to snuff. Powerful engine, but ill handling. But they did have Bridgestone making tires for Ducati specifically. This helped, as the tires were made to work with the Ducati. As time went on in the 800s, you saw many of the Ducati riders falling off in results. All of them, except Stoner.

Capirossi won the first year on the 800s, but look at his results later on with Pramac. He did better on what many people saw as the worst bike in the paddock, Suzuki. He was able to podium on that bike, but not the Ducati. Here is a man that had been on the Ducati since it's creation, and he could not come to terms with it.

You are right about the riders should be able to adapt to the bike. But this is a bike that most people obviously cannot adapt to. Rossi has shown he can adapt to different bikes, and tires. When he moved to Yamaha, people thought he was stupid. He adapted. When he changed to Bridgestone from Michelin, once again people doubted him. Up and coming teammate, Stoner being dominate, and Rossi not winning for a few races until he adapted to the tires. But he did adapt. Ducati is too different for him. Stoner is just flat out better at adapting, does not mean that Rossi is not trying. But everyone has their limits. This is Rossi's.

Melandri, Capirossi, Gibernau, and now Rossi have all not been able to adapt to the Ducati. Melandri went on to race a year old Kawasaki, and get better results on that undeveloped bike, than he did on the Ducati. These are not riders without talent, or drive. The bike is flawed to a point that most riders cannot adapt to. And if you actually look at Stoner's last year on it, he too was having problems riding it, (losing the front end all the time). It took a whole year to really figure it out which probably led to him jumping ship to a much easier bike, Honda.

Ducati made a bike one rider could adapt to, and that rider did much, much better when he switched to another marque.

Since the switch to 800s, Ducati has had only one race win that wasn't with Stoner. are they really that bad at picking riders or might it be the bike?

the point is, as you say, performance. And Ducati has performed very poorly.

To me it seems a bad idea for Ducati to let a rider like Hayden go. He's quite popular with fans, he's getting on with the Ducati better than most, he will always give his best, does not complain and is an American as well, which will count for something in the US market.
Anyway, if they are going to lose Rossi (which I surely hope not to happen), they are going to be wanting to hold on to Hayden really bad, I think.

Hayden has defined mediocrity for a factory rider during his time at Ducati; look up the stats yourself (e.g. only 3 podiums in 3 full year, all 3rd place, none so far this year). So from the standpoint of on-track competitiveness, a change is more than thinkable.

Just can't agree with this. Hayden appeared mediocre in the shadow of a genius but in the light of day, with the 7 time world champion and GOAT *behind* him I think it's pretty clear that Hayden has been much better than people give him credit for (me included). Ducati is a mess, they don't have the bike to be winning and don't have the cash to fix it. They can spend all the money they want making a VR46 bike and paying for VR46 but ultimately, if they can't give Hayden a bike he can score podiums on, they've failed as that's where Hayden should be. He's not the greatest rider ever but he's better than 6th.

Just more blame the factory, the bike, etc.

I can only hope people with more of an eye to on-track competitiveness than you seem to have are running the MotoGP teams -- that they are seeking out the best riders to get the most out of their machines. In that sense, it must be a bit de-motivating to some of the younger riders who never get a chance to see that a guy like Hayden, with like I said such mediocre results, is able to hang around for so long. Nice guy that he is notwithstanding.

Hayden has had 3 full years to come to grips with the Ducati, including 2 full years when Stoner was showing him how.

As I said: it would be perfectly understandable were Ducati to decide not to keep Hayden.

What model Ducati do you own? ; )

All teams have an A rider and a B rider.

As Honda's B rider, Hayden managed to take a WC (and their then A rider has never really come close).

As Ducati's B rider, Hayden has done a fantastic job. And he sells bikes in his home country.

Hayden won the title in 2006, which was Pedrosa's first year in the class. While I imagine Honda then had high hopes for Pedrosa, as someone who followed MotoGP at the time I never had the impression Hayden was regarded as the 'B' rider on that team. Remember, that was before the 800cc era (I know some people claim the 800cc Honda was built more for Pedrosa).

From the comments here, I can only conclude that Hayden is the most overrated MotoGP rider of all time. Considering only his years at Honda, Hayden finished on the podium 25% of the time, with a full 40% of those podium finishes coming in 2006. In his entire career he's only won 3 races, which is fewer than e.g. Melandri. Those aren't HOF numbers. And more to my point: they aren't numbers that deserve to be rewarded with a factory ride.

From Ducati's side, why not take a chance? Why settle again for Hayden when you know what you'll get: a guy who'll likely finish top 10, maybe top 5 if you're really lucky. IMO change would invigorate the organization. Tell Hayden 'Thanks, good luck, and good-bye'. Give someone else a chance on that bike -- Hayden's had his.

Simple as that.

"Hayden won the title in 2006, which was Pedrosa's first year in the class. While I imagine Honda then had high hopes for Pedrosa, as someone who followed MotoGP at the time I never had the impression Hayden was regarded as the 'B' rider on that team."

Repsol Honda 2003 - Rossi/Hayden - which one was the A rider?
Repsol Honda 2004 - Biaggi/Hayden - which one was the A rider?
Repsol Honda 2005 - Pedrosa/Hayden - Spanish golden boy joins the team and Hayden is still testing new parts (such as the clutch that let him down) despite being the championship leader. Pedrosa was not experimenting with new parts during races - which one was the A rider?

Pedrosa came in as the rookie, true, but he was Repsol Honda's main man from day one. Hayden was never expected to take a WC for them.

No one rides like Stoner and no one rides exactly like anyone else on the grid for that matter apart from the fact that they all use their extremities to manipulate controls.
Unless Yamaha offer Cal the factory ride, his thinking is right.
Far better to be in a factory team with a 2 year contract under the belt than to be stuck in a sattelite or CRT effort with no chance of moving up to factory, even if Ducati seems to be a widow maker. On the other hand success at Ducati can open many doors for him.

I think a bit of patience will do Cal good if he doesn't get the factory Yamaha ride this year. I think he's closer to winning races on a satellite Yamaha rather than if he was on a factory Ducati. Does he have enough belief that after a former champ Hayden and a man with 7 titles, Rossi, can't make the bike work that he can? Is that risk and the ability to say he has a factory bike worth possibly taking a step down on machinery? Guess we'll see.

The Ducati is a widow maker... end of sentence. It is also a CV killer. What doors have been opened for any Ducati rider other than within WSBK? Troy? Marco?

Sete quit (though a bad example); Mika is in Moto2; Loris was let go too. Checa fared "ok" but only lasted a year and was what, 10th in the Championship or something like that?

I like Cal a lot. I see in him what I think we all saw in Marco Simoncelli - a true racer. That flame will be extinguished too quickly on the Ducati and if he fails to win does Ducati also send him to see a pyschoanalyst?

Stay away Cal. Please don't jump for dollars. Stay as far away as you can.

Ducati as a factory wont they ever want to produce a bike which wont let apart from a certain Stoner to win?

This year atleast on a single lap they are getting close to their target. Remember Nicky's fast lap at Silverstone where he was on a provisional pole till the point when his front folded just like Vale's did.

Things should start looking up by Laguna Seca whatever updates ducati is trying to bring there.

I have a strong feeling that Vale is going to end up at the second factory seat (First one is for Marquez) at Honda ( my fingers never let me type this - wanted to say Yamaha ) but Honda has more financial muscle than Yamaha and They would want a title challenger for Lorenzo which Pedrosa never was.

Next season is again going to be between the factory Hondas and the factory Yamahas.

Silly season at best eh?

Cal would end up at Ducati not on Nicky's bike but on Vale's.

And that's the problem with that one fast lap: you can't keep a miracle going for 26 straight laps unless you're stoner, and even then you win it or bin it half of the time with the front folding.

And if the rider can manage to absolutely wring the neck out of the ducati, the tires aren't going to hold up and he'll still be screwed. Nicky's best efforts not withstanding, the ducatis are the bottom of the heap in front of the CRT's. They are not changing the bike, they are not trying everything under the sun like Honda does to get things to work (as I believe DavidEmmett has said multiple times here).

Until Ducati let's go of the L and whoever it is that keeps trying to make the chicken quack, it's just going to be a death sentence for riders like was said above. So yeah, perversely, I do hope that Nicky gets the boot and then he can find himself on a bike automatically better than the Ducati, and then kick their ***es next season.

And it will be Karma long-coming for Pedrosa to be shown the door, with a "Thanks for all the third places, but we need a winner" at Honda. Good luck to Pedro finding a sponsor that will put up with his Puig-baggage.

Please don't jump for dollars.

That's just crazy talk. Money-wise, I would guess he'd get at least 3x what he's earning now (be interesting to hear the blog proprietor's view on that). These guys have relatively short careers and need to grab the cash when it's offered.

And how do you know how he'd fare on the Ducati? Personally, I'm looking forward to seeing him on the Ducati next year. With Stoner gone, it'd add something to MotoGP.

Rossi on a leased M1 and Crutchlow on the factory Ducati would be great to see.

Crutchlow, in our little chat, mentioned the sums involved to me. The factory ride pays significantly more than the satellite ride (more than the guesses I've seen so far), but Crutchlow was very keen to emphasize that it was about being on a factory team. The money was nice, but if both rides paid the same - or even if the satellite ride paid more - he'd still take the factory ride, because he believes that is the only way he will get a fair shot at becoming champion.

Even as his employer looks to be hanging him out to dry, he can't bring himself to say anything bad. He's a class act irrespective of what he's riding next year.

For the sport - Looking at who has ridden them and failed, how the technology has altered since Stoner won on them, plus it seems every past champion has been asked to give it a shot to show it's either the current riders or the bike......
Cal should do what Lorenzo seemed to do - think of the options, weigh up the contract, ...... and stay with Yamaha. If he can. That seems to be his preference too. A factory ride is the holy grail, obviously, but Tech 3 seems the best second option.
Until the tyre rules change or Ducati redesign that engine it seems destined to be an also-ran, not a championship winner.

For the money - If you rode bikes for a living and the Yamaha option didn't apply, you might just think that 2 years on a Ducati, when no other top rider was lining up to ride them, would be the basis of a good pension plan.
Failure would be expected. If more equal bikes were on the grid by 2015 you may have some other options that still paid a good wage in the knowledge that you still had some time on your side.... As Nicky and CE and many others have shown, being in MGP is still the best place to be, even on 'second rate machinery' . Making a relative fortune whilst doing it - a second-best no-brainer.

If he cannot get a good MGP ride, and could live with it, I would like to see Nicky in WSB -a real chance of a second championship, running at the front, enjoying his racing.

Tech 3 will never ever win a championship as long as prototypes have bespoke ECU's, so Ducati is his best chance to win if he doesn't get an offer from the factory Yamaha team.

Trying to negotiate against a current employer without having another offer to push against is a fruitless effort. If he was not waving a potential Ducati contract in Yamaha's face then Yamaha would be able to put Cal on the back burner knowing that he had no other place to go than Tech 3. As much as an American rider fan I am if Spies stays at Yamaha factory it will be a surprise. The most likely replacements are Cal and Dovi so Cal may be on to something.

Cal and Dovi have both been consistently beating all of the bikes from the factory that Cal 'wants' to switch to. He can't be ignorant of this fact. Can he be so self-confident that he thinks he is good enough to make the difference? Maybe, or maybe he is a shrewd negotiator.

His comment that he riders like Stoner but just that Stoner is 1 sec faster was pretty funny. If you rode like him then you would be as fast as him. Until Cal starts shadowing Lorenzo he still has a long way to go. I hope he doesn't make the mistake of thinking that his riding style on the easiest and most well rounded bike in the paddock will translate to a bike with nearly polar opposite dynamic characteristics. Others have made that assumption and been bitten in the ass by it.


Ducati did well to offer Cal early. They can then wait on Val's choice then sign Nicky if Val leaves. They can't have offers out to three riders for two factory slot. Nicky might sell more bikes in the US than Val, but Val sells more MotoGP tickets than Nicky or Cal. Nicky's fate will likely remain tied to Val's decision to stay or go. Based on what Nicky's said publicly, I doubt he'll choose to leave until Ducati has pulled his chance for a factory ride. I wonder if he'll want to stick around on satellite or CRT machinery... but then again, his twitter feed hints that he's familiar with riding older equipment...

I'm a fellow Kentuckian so I want to keep Nicky in MGP. I would really like to see him on the Tech 3 team or a satellite Honda because I think he would be closer to the front. What does he earn now and what do the big dogs in WSBK earn? I've never really seen any info about this (though I've not really spent any effort looking).

The odds of Rossi staying are very small. Yes, I know he said his preferences are to win on Ducati but he also said he wanted to finish his career at Yamaha. Even if they get their bike to improve so will Yamaha and Honda. And I think Ezpeleta would have a coronary if Rossi signs with Ducati again. He'll see his TV revenue drop and then there goes all the CRT subsidies and his plans of manufacturer irrelevance.


Cal,Casey and Dani are all the same age within 30 days of each other. The overiding thinking from a common sense angle must be for Cal to go with the 2 year Ducati offer. You have teenagers of the Marquez/Vinales mould comming through. Redding/Iannone on the rise barely out of their teens. Bradl already here. (Pity,pity Assen). Cal may be delightfully outspoken but a realist.
The next 2 years at this level is his best shot. Best shot is factory anything.
Should he have an offer to stay at Tech 3 for 2 years,so what ? Should he accept he will be 29 years old and hardly on any factory teams shopping list.
No 7 digit contract,no chance of challenging for a title.
Perhaps Cal,in comparing himself to Casey is pre-emptively thinking..."What if I don't try it ?".

Is much the same as the old Ducat. With the same people in the head office, nothing is going to change. Rossi holds as much power as any rider ever will and the best he ever got is a bike that looks diffent but thats all. Nicky gets treated like ####, he has a MGP title & says the right things. Cal has none of those. Without hating, I say good luck to him.

As far as Nicky goes, if he is really as popular as many think, he should be able to get enough support for a satellite Honda, one would hope. As much as I like WSB I just can't see the point for him to go there.

I'd hate to see Ducati let Hayden go. As everyone has said, he's a great rider, works hard, is doing as well as anyone can on that POS.....he's also brave. I'd say one of the bravest on the grid.

Spies is also a great rider, but he's not performing the way Yamaha would like. Just 1 win on a factory bike in a year and a half on it isn't cutting it sadly. With all the hard riding he's put in at Ducati, I bet Hayden would crush on the M1. then you would have Rossi and Cal @ ducati, Bautista and Bradl where they are, Dovi and Spies perhaps at Tech 3 and pedrosa and Marquez at honda.

I would like to see him on a bike like the M1 before he heads off to WSBK.

Honestly I don't think Yamaha has room for him though, with Bradley Smith supposedly getting a Tech 3 bike next year, and Cal or Dovi getting the factory bike. That leaves 1 bike, maybe, if Cal or Dovi sign with another manufacturer after not getting the factory seat - and I don't see Dovi wanting to ride the Ducati as much as Cal seems to. Plus Spies will be available as well.

That being said, I think Ducati will definitely re-sign Hayden once VR makes the decision to leave.

In an interview from Steve Parish for Aussie tv, Herve said the likelyhood of Smith moving up to Tech3 is very little and could end up in legal action. So if that happens, then Herve could choose whoever he wants (with the blessing of Yamaha of course)

The more I like him. Cal that is. He speaks his mind in a genuine and unprepared way. Reporters must love him. I do however agree with Nicky's assessment of the riding styles. Cal always looks like he's fighting the bike through the corners compared to CS who, when the set up allows him, looks just as Nicky said.
The main feature of Stoners riding i see is the corner entry speed and the transition to the drifting exit.
We'll miss it, he's the rider of a generation IMO.
I'm going to make the effort to get to a couple of races with my grown up sons so they can say they saw him ride.

as many have already said, nicky on a satellite yamaha or honda would be really nice...both for us and of course also for him for then he'd have a far better chance at being at the front and maybe finish his career in motogp with a few podiums after ages. coz he deserves that.

the tech 3 yamaha seat's value is going to reach the skies soon. possible contenders include spies, one of the dovi-cal pair, nicky and dare i say rossi. bradley smith should be made to wait and prove himself better for at least one more season before making his entry to the GP tech 3. he is really out of place and "not needed" now.

so much already present talent as well as sooner or later incoming talent from moto2, moto3 etc and so less competitive bikes on the grid. they should let yamaha and honda have more than two (and say at most four) satellite rides if not more than two factory rides. and new factories with competitive bikes (so not counting anyone like ducati, but we of course wouldnt know that beforehand) need to enter/re-enter motogp as soon as possible. ducati, so unable to produce competitive bikes, is and has been robbing more excitement and competition from the championship for several years now.

and then i sometimes wonder what would happen if stoner suddenly decides later in the season that he doesnt wanna retire after all. or say a comeback in the 2014 season after chilling out 2013 and realising he loves motogp more than he thought despite all the things he doesnt like about it anymore.

I was thinking the same...what if 27 decides he wants some and decides to return in '14. Nine-figure sum from Ducati...! :-O


I don't think Stoner is foolish enough to put up with that situation again, I'm a Ducati fan (Stoner fan first though) and have owned several myself but I'm not sure they'll be around much longer. The definition of insanity is... :-\

for several reasons from the past that we all know, he wont even consider returning to ducati, if at all he considers returning to motogp.

it will be honda sure, even if to make that happen honda may have to push the rules to allow 3 factory riders to make room for stoner, and we all know honda can do that. but then pedrosa will most probably be out of motogp by 2014, so maybe honda wont have to push for 3 factory riders.

realize that his loyalty has been misplaced twice now and do what is best for himself. If I remember right he could have been on the Duc in 2007. How about a year or two on a BMW superbike while helping them start a MotoGP program? He could get a title there as well as move back later. Be a real interesting comparison.
Honda has to someday realize Dani is not the answer and a marriage with VR is in both of theirs best interest. Winning or better yet not winning can recreate a lot of things. Be interesting to watch how much pride goes away after losing.

Love the site! Great insight, reasonable and very intelligent articles and comments!

You ought to research Hayden's competitive record on the Ducati (or note my post above) before deciding whether or not Ducati is being 'disloyal' for wondering if someone else might do better on their bike.

Do you consider Rossi to be a mediocre rider?

I've been careful to only mention on-track performance. Clearly all of these guys are in one sense 'great riders'. And overall Rossi's performance thru the years speaks for itself: he's pretty clearly had the best 'racecraft' I've seen.

But to answer your question directly: He has been on the Ducati. Also his off-track demeanor as a Ducati employee has also been, let's say, mediocre. Especially when compared to Hayden.

For me, it just is not so 100% clear where the problem is, since Stoner was a consistent race-winner and pole-sitter on Ducati machinery. So it is not clear what the potential of this Ducati is. Whether the problem is really with the machine or with Rossi's (and Hayden's) apparent inability to adapt to it. Tough situation.

Firstly, kudos on your continuing ability to make reasoned and well thought out posts, even if they go against what many others are saying on this topic.

You say "For me, it just is not so 100% clear where the problem is, since Stoner was a consistent race-winner and pole-sitter on Ducati machinery. So it is not clear what the potential of this Ducati is."

You do realise that this is almost exactly what Rossi said of the Ducati before he first threw a leg over it? I think we can see from what has happened since then that the potential of the Ducati has been clearly expressed in the results of both Rossi and Hayden... us keyboard warriors can postulate all we like, but reality is out there on the track every race weekend.

If Rossi had been winning - or at the very least getting onto the podium - on a regular basis with the Ducati, and Hayden still circulating in 5th-10th, I too would be questioning Hayden's place in the factory Ducati team. But Hayden has been at least as fast as Rossi, and often faster. In other words, he is performing at the level of the rider that most people consider to be the GOAT, or at least of the modern era.

Rossi has lost none of his talent - a little of his drive maybe - so it's got to be hard to argue with a straight face that Hayden is lacking in talent, given both riders results. The Ducati is a nail.

He knows it. Whither to ? Even if Cal bails out, Nicky has outlived his usefullness within Ducati. Valentino's situation is vastly more difficult for the Bologna heirarchy and Audi to deal with. Were he Christened Marco Melandri it would have been a simple deal.... No deal at all ! Go see a shrink !
Right now Ducati's accumen as a producer of cutting edge GP racing kit is at an all time low in the eyes of the GP following public.
They have changed everything Ducati short of the L and Desmo. Should they abandon that layout,they may aswell experiment as they did back in the late 70's early 80'S by running proddy L-twin 500 Desmos against parrallel twin 500 Desmo twins. Remember...Desmo Sport 500. Pantah creamed it, evolved into GPD16 eventually. Ducati will never build a transverse 4 for Valentino. Teutonic Audi will be 100% behind Ducati's engineering staff for the sake of the brand and its market value. Audi and 5 cylinder,Audi Quatro drive, Ducati Desmo L. Common expansive philosophies. No one is going to see a pneumatic valve drive Yamaha on a showroom floor anytime. A Desmo ? Well,you can buy into that tradition on any Sunday.
Sentimentality has no place in the rough and tough world of MotoGP and current economics.
As much as past laurels are to be lauded,the game can't rest on them. Nicky is part of the fallout. He's had 4 years and no cigar. I guess he's resigned to it. It pains me to see this eventuality playing itself out.

One Spanish Motorsport mag is reporting the opposite, Audi offering huge money to Rossi to stay, I doubt Ducati sticking to their guns will be a condition. Every factory has had to adapt to maintain their relevance, no point running an l config if it makes you look stupid which it does. Germans will be, function then form. The opposite it would seem of Ducati . Don't think cals style is like caseys, , cal heavy front end rider and late braker. casey more Gary McCoy but with a much more forgiving bike and tyres and pretty much the opposite of what most riders are taught, a product of indestructible tyres and over simplification on my part.. Think he'll have the same trouble everyone else had.2007 is irrelevant, the bikes been on downward spiral since then and any past results will be subject to that equation when either re or for the first time considering a rider, which will look bad even with casey!!.. Personally don't think Rossi will stay even if he wants to. Father time waits for no man.

Hayden is speaking more openly now because he knows he's moving on... soon enough! Very diplomatically, Hayden is telling Ducati that Cal is NOT the 2nd coming of Casey Stoner! Hayden should finish the season as the Top Ducati MotoGP rider as he's been doing and then go elsewhere regardless for 2013. Ducati can't seem to stop making bad judgement calls after letting Stoner leave. Hayden on a M1? Sounds interesting! He would then be riding past Cal at each race. World Superbike is the stage to be on nowadays and Hayden would do well on the Aprilia or BMW. Any team should be honored to have a rider like Nicky. Colin may want to go to WSB too.

I don't think there was enough money at Ducati or Marlboro to keep Casey on the Ducati once Suppo left for Honda. Ducati lost Casey, the same way they appear to be losing Val - looking at the numbers on the engineering spreadsheet instead of the rider's input to determine what is right & wrong with the bike's performance. Cal is saying & doing all the right things for the next contract. I wonder if Suzuki will have a bike in the ring next year to add new girl to the dance line up. It will be interesting to see how fast things change after Laguna Seca and the expected Ducati "new" parts.

ducati lost casey when they offered lorenzo twice as much money to ride for them after casey was ill for a couple of race

One thing is certain....there will be an American in MotoGP next year.

With all the speculation as to where & if BS, NH & CE will be riding next year, the powers that be would be committing marketing suicide if no American were in these races. With CE's (frustrated) retirement both Nicky & Ben will find "new sources" of sponsorship (DORNA) helping them find rides.

Ironic, when in the past Spanish & Italian passports were the most desirable.

Cal is either a savy negotiator or an ego maniaCal fool to think he can become a WC on a Ducati...I think the former.

I like Nicky Hayden but don't understand all these people assuming he would kick butt on an M1. His results at Honda after 2006 were not spectacular. FFS both Suzukis beat him in the championship in 2007 as did Melandri on a satellite Honda while Hayden was on the factory Honda. On a factory M1 he would be expected to win, something he hasn't done for a long time, or at the very least podium.

I believe that Hayden, though a relatively new world champ, had been relegated to test mule while Dani had a different spec and a crazy dwarf (Puig) in his corner kicking up dust in Honda.

Look back at pictures from the those years and it looks like Nicky was trying to wrap himself around a 50cc minibike. That bike was built for Dani.

Tech 3, I think he'd give most of the factory riders more stick than they'd care to feel....

Be funny if Cal and Vale both finished behind Nicky on the Satellite Yamaha... I would giggle...

"But when you saw Stoner go fast on the Ducati he let the bike move, the bike moved but he didn't. He was smooth. You know, his body, he never fought the bike, he let the bike just move under him."

Great, maybe the best explanation so far on "how the FU... Stoner was able to be fast on this onion ?"

I will miss Hayden when he'll go, always good spirit, always fight, alwas conscient of the luck he has to have his life ... not the best pilot but maybe the best person among the pilots ... and a world champion against the unbeatable (in 2006, he really was) Mr 46.

Nicely put. From his rookie yr till date, NH69 is still my fav underdog. Hope to see him in person! Pray he'll be at D Store this yr for the Laguna Seca promotional event!

About Troy Bayliss - watch footage of him working the Ducati Superbike around a track and you'll see that the bike is doing all of the crazy stuff, while Bayliss simply works to keep his bodyweight where it will counteract what the bike is doing.

When he said that Cal wouldn't give up after a few crashes?

Hmm.. Perhaps Nicky would prefer a new team mate, cant see ANY factory keeping even the biggest star, if they believe they aren't putting it on the line.. Even JB is frustrated by Rossi's lack of resilience in this matter (JB's comments about not recieving sufficient useable rider feedback). Audi may make 'the decision' NOT a spanish bank, role on the MotoGP reformation...

Cal and Nicky at the duck factory? Yamaha with Lorenzo and Spies (or a moto2 hotshot), Honda with Dani and Marquez, and Rossi with a works satelite team he assembles himself (probably with Honda support).

I've already bought my Lorenzo Yamaha cap for next year, I'll put it on as soon as Casey laps PI for the last time... It'll be a sad day for an old guy addicted to watching this, the most amazing sport on the planet, no Aussie kids for another decade, I hope I live long enough to see the next Gardner/Doohan/Stoner. But, in the mean time, role on the kid from Catalan, its a privilege to watch Lorenzo ride a bike!

Two seats at Ducati, one already offered to Cal, and a competing incumbent that has not had the success we've all come to expect?

I think that Nicky has implied "I'm putting in more than Vale, why am I getting the boot?", but Nicky, being about the nicest guy in the paddock, would never dump all over his team mate....

What could be worse for poor old Vale than if Cal arrives and then suddenly the duke is back at the front? I think we'd hear Vale's screams of frustration from down here in Oz....

Hayden wasn't referring to anyone other than himself. He knows how tough it is, and can remember all too well the number of times he crashed in 2010. Too think that Hayden was referring to Rossi here is taking a conspiracy theory too far.

Yes, its a conspiracy theory, and as the only theorist of said theory, I reserve my right to theorise, my defence dear sir is the lack of accountability offered to my status as an anonymous blogger... I'm not an illiterate troll, but rather the postulator of the prosperous...

My postulation has a simple foundation in logic;

Nicky thinking "my ride options are drying up, I'm doing my best and I never get the real good gear, to hell with it, I'm going to tell'em how it is"... "Right, that young quick tough as teak English dude... um maybe not??".... "Okay, well Vale is having tough time with the Stoner comparisons, he's starting to whinge a lot, yeah I'm going for it!" and because Nicky's so darn nice, the above is as nasty as he gets...

I wonder how Nicky would've gone in his career with a Puig or Burgess whipping the factory boys on his behalf.. One thinks he would've won more titles...

In a 3 horse 2 seat race, why would he talk history when his immediate future is on the line?

David, please don't be offended, I've just got back from a fabulous little Italian restaurant in Kirribillli... Had a lovely bottle wine with my elegant beautiful long suffering wife, all I did was talk MotoGP referencing your wonderfull website.. but the wine was good too... hence my verbosity!

I sat opposite Hayden as he spoke, and he was speaking way, way, way too quickly to have time to think about throwing anyone under the bus. Hayden is not good at launching barbs at other riders, they always come off as extremely labored.

And I'm hypersensitive to comments about either Rossi or Stoner, I've seen those discussions go down the toilet to quickly. Hence the reaction.

As a 'first person observer', I will accept your superior experience.

Great stuff, hope you're at PI, love to spend an hour chatting... know a couple of fine restaurants there as well.. cheers

I have the advantage of sitting and listening to the riders speak, watching their body language. Unfortunately, I have to then write it down for you to read, and cannot transmit all of the nuance that comes across.

Sadly, I won't make it to PI this year. The other side of the world is a very expensive place to get to, and though the site is successful, it's not successful enough to fly me halfway round the world whenever the fancy takes me.

Even though the language used by some contributors has been woeful and the bigotry extreme, the real story of the past decade has been the duel between the diminishing with age 'legend that is Rossi' and the rise of the 'kid natural Stoner'. One thinks of them, and the polarisation they create, and how positive for all aspects of the sport they have been.

While their fans flush themselves down the toilet with their own diatribe, they themselves have raised the quality game for the whole world to a new level, where would MotoGP be now without this great rivalry? Not Schwantz and Rainy, nobody has got close to how good this competition has been. If the younger Stoner hadn't finally bested his arch older enemy, would he be retiring? No Rossi, no will?

Very well put, but you missed out one thing: That kid Lorenzo's not too bad on a motorcycle either ...

Hence my new Yamaha cap, which will be placed on my grey balding head, as soon as Casey crosses the line at PI, roll on the kid from Catalan...

It's a pity Rossi or casey had to be on the dukebe nice if they had a proper battle again ala a real treat to see them both on jap machinery.

First of all, comparing ANYONE to Casey, is impossible! The man simply rides a m/c like no on ever has! They're NOT going to find another Casey, nor will we see his 'talent' for some time! Ducati has proven to be.....stubborn in its engineering (I'm being diplomatic). They seem to be a much smaller version of HRC a decade + ago where the 'engineers' were everything and the rider is just someone who sits on 'their masterpiece'. When things go terribly wrong, they plug in another rider....after rider......after rider.....after rider.....thinking that somewhere along this line of linear thinking, they'll find another 'Casey' that will make their 'masterpiece' go fast! So, they hired the GOAT (just using that ancroym) and their 'masterpiece' is still a pile of junk! Will Audi buying them help? I doubt it....remember, BMW wanted to write their own 'electronics' program and refused to go the path of everyone....just buy the Marelli unit.

Nicky: he has out performed Rossi since Rossi showed up and Ducati is getting rid of him? Typically of their thinking! How many careers have they ruined and they keep looking in the mirror and saying, 'our bike is fine Fine FINE! We just need the right rider'. We'll they HAD the right rider and ran him off. Nicky has been a perfect gentlemen and worked his ass off and look what's about to happen to him? Duc is gonna toss him away like they have every other rider they've hired...... I only hope th best for Nicky....He's a class act!

Note that the bike has been turned (mostly) upside-down for Valentino Rossi in the year and a half since Casey hopped off the bike, nevermind the 4 and a half years since Casey won the championship.

I believe Stoner's front-end problems in subsequent years with Ducati emerged from their attempts to improve rideability for all other riders (Hayden and customer riders). Perhaps Stoner would have taken another championship without such moderation? Either way, almost half a decade has passed and many changes with them, since the bike won a championship.

Hey David,

Whom did Cal wish to set the record straight about?

Cal Crutchlow ‏@calcrutchlow
@motomatters we need to talk ! Meet me at hospitality at 7pm ! You need to correct a few people …

Cal with Stoner's crew would be fun to watch in 2013.

I don't get all the Pedrosa hate. I mean, jeez, it's been six years since he knocked Nicky off, and I don't even think Nicky holds a grudge for that long.

When I stepped off the plane in Barcelona last year, the first billboard I saw in the airport was a) huge and b) a picture of Pedrosa knee-down on a Repsol Honda. I think that the guy's got the seat there for however long Repsol stays a sponsor.

And say what you want, he's one of the few people who have beaten Stoner, Lorenzo and Rossi in a straight fight.

I truly hope next year is Danni's year, even though I'll be barracking for Lorenzo, it'll be sad to see such a fabulous rider finish without a title.

If he doesnt win it next year, the factories will move him on, and then he never will. If that happens he will be by far the best rider to have never won the championship. Alien for all these years and the other 3 got the gold.

I'm not sure if it's hate, maybe realism from fans that have watched him over the years and how much opportunity he's had so far.

Compared to the aliens Pedrosa is 2nd tier, he'll never challenge for the title. Honda knows it, Repsol knows it, Yamaha knows it and Pedrosa knows it.

Then the only question is does Honda want a non-championship challenger and a rookie in their factory line-up? They are so heavily invested in Motogp that i highly doubt they would.

Surely they can't expect Marquez to step up in his first year and challenge for the title.

What's really on their Christmas list is an alien and a rookie?

Can Honda and Vale kiss and make up? Hopefully.

With Honda, Vale will go out of MotoGp with a bang. With Ducati Vale will go out of MotoGP with a whimper...

Frankly I don't see that hate. For one I started to like Dani as soon as I was able to separate him from Puig. He may have been less likeable in the beginning of his career but he changed a lot.

I think the point here is not how much is liked but rather the results. Racing at the top has no mercy. You know I may like Colin a lot and may not like how Rossi handled his tax scandal .... but I cannot say that Colin is a WC just because he is a great guy or deny 9 WC on the other side.

If you look at facts in top class MotoGP: Rossi 7 WCs Stoner 2 Lorenzo 1 Pedrosa nil.

Take away the top class and then is Pedrosa 3 Rossi 2 Lorenzo 2 Stoner nil.

Problem is ... he is racing in the top class.

I agree that if he will not become a top class WC he will possibly be the strongest non WC. Maybe we will call him NWCGOAT :)

makes a lot of sense to me. If Audi wanted him and MGP they have a lot of carrots to dangle - money, engineering knowledge/resources for everything from Lambo to Porsche to (?) any F1 designer you might wish to name, plus an exit route to sports cars/Le Mans. Marketing heaven, surely? Also, Audi do narrow V engines....Ducati 'are' L twins - the MGP bike is not an L twin. If they could turn the MGP bike into a winner the kudos would be huge. Buyers of road bikes/racing bikes are smart enough to know that what wins MGP is not necessarily the best bike for them - WSB does that for them. Desmosedici is haute couture - some lucky people can aford that. Audi do bespoke too ad can afford it - Bugatti proves it.Not an easy choice - oh to be wanted!
Perhaps Vale wants Crutchlow to do the crashing for him? (cynical, I know, but he's a class rider and will push it fearlessly....).
And what becomes of Burgess - isn't he a big factor here? Is he going to stay until VR leaves? Is he going to help Casey tune the tractors?
But Rossi has repeatedly said he wants 2 more years in MGP. Another year (minimum) developing the totally new Ducati(could anything else be an option)? Can Honda cure the chatter/get the tyres they want?
Yamaha looks a better option and with Lorenzo on 2 MGP world titles and VR on humble pie (albeit very small portions) it may just be easier than before.
Satellites - too disruptive to existing teams, not trick enough (?), Honda satellites seem to be 'kept in their place',Tech 3 a possibility though if he could get the assurances (keeping Bradley away for another year or so may be an indicator..). Cal's there too.
Only two certainties - he still wants to win (and can - that Le Mans ride looked sublime to me)and he will not give Preziosi any more time to get his act together because he cannot afford the time himself.

Rossi with his own team, his own sponsors, on a leased M1. You'd think with the money he'd be able to pull together, Rossi would be able to buy something close to full factory support. Close enough that there should and would be no excuses, anyway. That would be great for MotoGP. And it's doable.

Can't see Rossi back on the factory Yamaha team.

There is a limit of 4 "factory" bikes (i.e. official and satellite bikes) per manufacturer.
Tech3 has a contract to run 2 M1s so no extra Yam for Rossi.
Plus Tech3 confirmed that it's not in their agreement to run official-spec Yamahas and that it will not be the case.
So if Rossi goes back to Yamaha it could only be as a teammate to Jorge.
And I don't see him coming back playing second fiddle to Jorge after leaving them because he refused to stay with Lorenzo and him getting equal treatment (salary and development-wise).

Honda Repsol is very unlikely, for Rossi it's gonna be Honda Gresini or... resigning to re-sign.

and it's gonna be enforced from next season.
No one can say how long this rule will stay, but for sure it's here next year.

"From 2013, each manufacturer will be limited to two factory entries and two satellite entries, though the wording is such that the spec of the machines is not specified. The two factory riders would naturally have factory bikes, but the satellite teams could also field a fully factory-backed bike, such as they did for Marco Simoncelli in 2011."

Dani is just about ready to retire. After all the injuries he even said so himself during an interview when he was asked about challenging for a Championship Title in 2012 and beyond. He knows he's on his way out after years of NOT being a real championship contender. Finishing 2nd place... is the 1st loser. Honda and Repsol needs a real championship hopeful to replace Stoner for 2013. Dani isn't it... hence the need for Marc next season. Dani is still in contract negotiations isn't he? Where else could he go if Honda doesn't give him a Factory ride? LCR? Gresini? A CRT-Honda to finish his career? Honda's only 2013 title hope would be Rossi... then Ducati can keep Hayden for another couple years.

...regarding a factory ride as the only chance he has of having a shot at being World Champion.

Not only that, it pays significantly more. What's the expected multiplier? I would expect an absolute minimum of 2x, and 4x would be more like it. I'd be interested to hear info about that...

otherwise riders would be queuing to sign for Ducati.
And as Cal said, if it was for the money he would have already signed with Ducati.
Of course he'd rather make less and be on a factory Yam.


Although rumoured that Pedrosa might have to swallow a massive 50% pay cut to keep his factory RC213V ride,..

Could that be true? Not exactly a way to motivate a rider/an employee.

Pedrosa has been an official HRC rider since 2006 but has only won 15 races in 105 starts...

A different standard I guess -- "only". OK, maybe he is, results-wise, the weakest of the 'aliens'. But he is nearly always competitive, e.g. he has been on the podium in well over 50% of the races he's started, whereas with Hayden it's less than 20% (and most people seem to think Hayden should keep his factory ride).

+1. Looking at the history books, it's pretty clear that the factories usually have one rider who is the championship contender and one rider who's there to pick up the pieces if something falls apart. It's not specified, but that's how things tend to work out over long periods of time (see Doohan/Criville).

Dani quietly goes about his business and he's almost always at the sharp end of the field. He represents the company well (mostly, althought that yacht thing was pretty dumb) and is an admired sports hero in his country, where the team's main sponsor is headquartered. If anyone under-performed, it was Dovisioso, and that's why he's gone.

I think Repsol and HRC understand that Dani's doing exactly the job they hoped he would and could do.

Perhaps it makes sense for Hayden to take a contract with Honda to develop their production racer? I'd like to see him on a competitive bike but I just don't see where that's going to come from. With a hard limit on 4 factory supplied bikes, Dorna is making it clear that they want to reduce the power of the factories. Hayden could take the chance, towards the end of his career (sucks to be saying that) to help develop Honda's new plan which would put him ahead of all the CRT bikes as well as some or all of the Ducatis anyway. Just a thought.

I think Cal is making a mistake going to Ducati. Unless Ducati are willing to build a bike for their riders and not for their engineers, they're not going to fix anything. The only chance is that Audi come in and kick some ass but that probably won't be for 2013 anyway.

I think Cal is making a mistake going to Ducati.

What if 1) he would get a 2 year deal for 4x per year what he's making now, and 2) he is not offered Spies' bike? Would it still be a "mistake"?

Nicky's relationship with Honda is (just a bit) better than Rossi's as far as the way it ended but I don't see Honda approaching Nicky. Nicky would probably need to 'sell' himself to Honda. Honda would indeed make a lot of money signing him again in marketing alone for how they shafted him years ago. Would Hayden want to stay in MotoGP on a production racer? Maybe. But he would do better for the Honda Brand and himself in WSB riding along side J Rea. And a bigger prospect would be for Honda to re-enter the AMA with Hayden as their star rider again! The AMA series needs a huge boost in competitive riders and brands. Colin Edwards II should go back to WSB on a Honda or AMA on a Yamaha to end his career on a high note if possible!

The most recent nonsensical rule, i.e. limiting the factories to only four bikes each, has really squeezed down the options for a lot of riders. There really isn't any good reason to limit Ducati to four bikes, they are going to have a hard time getting two riders to essentially put their careers on hold for two years in order to ride the thing. Be afraid Cal, be very afraid. So what you are left with is eight actual competitive bikes. Talk about the shrinking grid!!! At exactly the time Moto GP needs more competitive bikes, the manufacturers have been limited to four bikes each.

So where does everyone go? My dream would be to have Hayden, Spies and Colin move to SBK. They can all get competitive bikes there and put on a great show. The high point of most race weekends for me is the Moto 2 race and the SBK races. The Moto GP races are barely faster (I certainly can't perceive any difference on my TV) and almost uniformly boring. I will admit that super slow motion of Casey Stoner is awesome.

I'm certainly not a Ducati hater. Actually I have a couple of them in my garage right now. I hate to see them using up that vast pool of enthusiasm and good will which has been built up over several decades of racing success both in SBK and Moto GP. If you didn't know about this history, or if you weren't acquainted with their products, you might think that they built complete pigs. Not the case, they just have been victimized by a combination of factors…vast racing budgets from the Japanese…may be unsuitable tires….may be an engine that is not quite right at this point in time…The fact is, they are not doing themselves any favors by hiring the GOAT to ride around mid-pack. It makes the GOAT and Ducati look bad….real bad.

So…we need more competitive bikes…CRT aren't doing it…but Honda has a plan, and Yamaha and Suzuki and Kawasaki can not be far behind. Production racers…what a concept! Who ever came up with that idea??? If the factories could make money with these things all of our problems would be solved. Just homologate the things…insist that a certain number be made…and that spares will be available to everyone that buys one. There you go….problem solved. You are welcome!

I think Cal has been reading his own press.

I have to call BS. He looks nothing like stoner on the bike. He's not even on the same planet as stoner. He does ride at 101% percent and it bites him often. He can put in a fast lap or three, but he always looks ragged when he's doing it and ends up on the ground a lot.

Let's wait for him to get on the box at least before we call him champ.

Whilst I've always liked Nicky, I sometimes roll eyes at the "poor old Nicky" opinions. Look at the way Ducati have treat their riders over the last few years...

I seem to remember in 2006 Loris Cappirossi was Ducati's Golden Boy. He was FAST on that bike and ended the season as (many will remember) the FACE of Ducati... Ambassador, Life Long Role at Ducati etc. Many think he could have won the championship that year had it not been for the Catalunya pile-up.

Then 2007 came along and Casey whipped the field. Engine and tyre advantage or not, he rode that bike like nobody else. Result? Stoner showed the world how great Ducati are (at last that's how Ducati seemed to have perceived it) and they dump Loris like a bad smell. That was shocking for me at the time. Hated Ducati for doing that.

2008, Marco Melandri just can't ride it. He "needs a therapist" (according to Ducati) and is outta there by mutual consent. Casey still wins races so it can't be the bike!

2009. Casey still wins races but fewer by the year. Nicky finishes 13th but doesn't complain. Ducati keep him. Good ol' Nicky!

2010. Casey still wins races (but even fewer). Nicky finishes 7th. A big improvement and Nicky doesn't complain. Ducati offer Jorge more money than Casey to ride for them. Casey doesn't like this and leaves (through choice). Rossi equally offended by his pay-cut to fund Jorge's pay-rise. He leaves Yamaha (through choice).

2011. Valentino's first year a disaster. Nicky only one place behind in 8th. He's doing fine to be on a bike even "the greatest" is struggling on. Focus is still on Valentino's feedback. Nicky doesn't complain.

2012. Vale is losing interest/desire/hope, but Ducati need a fast rider to make the bike win (arrogance or panic, they have 2 proven fast riders!). They offer Nicky's seat to Cal, very fast but yet to score a podium. Nicky's reaction? He doesn't complain. Admirable or not?

We all love Nicky, but sometimes constantly doing the PR face in interviews and never complaining is not necessarily an admirable trait. Ducati certainly don't value the commitment he's given them to offer his seat so readily to someone else (see Casey, Loris, Marco etc)

Don't like Ducati, never have, never will. I don't mean the riders or their teams (any of them), I mean the suits outside the paddock. They seem far more ruthless than Honda to me!

If he talks nice about Ducati they treat him like every other rider: an expendable and replaceable tool. If he talks trash about Ducati they drop him like a hot potato.

Nicky's in a tough spot but in all his career he has not been one to drag his employer through the dirt, even after Honda rewarded his 2006 title with a bike he could barely fit on. He definitely knows which side of the bread the butter is on and while I would like him to be more vocal and forceful then he wouldn't be the Nicky that has earned the respect of the entire paddock through hard work and perseverance.


@ thescosman

Then surely that is down to Hayden, the man himself. If he talks nice he keeps his job, if he truly speaks his mind he gets booted? Whose fault is that? Hayden's or his bosses at Ducati?

He talks nice. Therefore he keeps his job. Not seemingly a man hungry to succeed, but a man that is onto a good thing therefore towing the company line to stay where he is?

Please tell me otherwise as I like Hayden but don't understand his passiveness. He hardly has the killer attitude we expect from those at the pinnacle of the sport (don't bring Rossi into this, has nothing to do with it). Like Edwards, great guy but well past their sell-by date when there are so many new riders hungry to prove themselves, no? Nicky is a hard working man, but is that reason enough to stay in MotoGP? Would he do better elsewhere? Perhaps, but he seems perfectly happy where he is (he has never said anything to say otherwise, and his public face is what is important right). In other words, the tea bitch.

WSB? No, it is well beneath them right? Why? Would Hayden and Edwards dominate WSB as it is well beneath them? Would be interesting. I suspect not, but would LOVE to be proved otherwise.

Nah, MotoGP is on the decline and WSB is getting more respect from people who enjoy close racing. Audiences might not prove this, but they suspect it more and more as the years pass.

The MotoGP guys just love the lifestyle. They will cling onto it with their last breath, and judging by Colin's performance / attitude, clinging on by their fingernails.

>>If he talks nice he keeps his job

I said if he talks nice he is treated like every other Ducati rider, a commodity that can be replaced at will yet if he talks badly he will be replaced ASAP.

>Not seemingly a man hungry to succeed

If you believe that I have a bridge to sell you.

>Please tell me otherwise as I like Hayden but don't understand his passiveness.

Not until you walk a mile in his shoes. Its seems to be his personality. Nothing wrong with that nor something you need to understand.

>>He hardly has the killer attitude we expect from those at the pinnacle of the sport

Yet he managed to achieve the pinnacle of the sport- GP world champion. Weird world, huh? Maybe that's some of his attraction to fans: a nice, hard working guy that managed to take the crown once.

>>Like Edwards, great guy but well past their sell-by date when there are so many new riders hungry to prove themselves, no?

The team owners are not forced to sign anyone. If they want to sign a new, hungry rider that is their prerogative, yet they seem not to do so. Don't blame the riders for wanting to stay in the premier class.

>>In other words, the tea bitch.

An opinion I don't think anyone in the paddock shares.

>>WSB? No, it is well beneath them right?

He wants to stay in GP because it is the pinnacle of racing. I hope when he leaves he will go back to dirt track, win a mile and become the last roadracer to do the Grand Slam. Then he can go to WSB and be the first GP/WSB champ.

>>The MotoGP guys just love the lifestyle. They will cling onto it with their last breath, and judging by Colin's performance / attitude, clinging on by their fingernails.

Would you rush to give up a well paying job in the top level of whatever your occupation is? As long as someone is willing to pay your way I think not and neither would I. And I think every racer will tell you the lifestyle is trying: living in hotel rooms, getting food poisoning regularly, spending lots of time in an airplane, injuries/surgeries and compressed recovery times, riding injured and pumped up with painkillers, etc. They put up with it because they want to be the best. Stoner couldn't put up with it anymore, even for a 8 figure salary. It is glamorous sometimes, but never easy.


Cal's instincts are born out by the history of the class. Ducati was winning races with its factory "widowmaker" far more recently than any satellite bike has won a MotoGP race. And if you look at a list of MotoGP/500cc champions and look for the rider who won the title on a satellite bike, be prepared to scroll down for a very, very long time ...

Biaggi once told me that he went to Aprilia in WSBK because even though the satellite Ducati he was riding was very, very good, it would always be five horsepower behind the factory bike. Aprilia, although it wasn't winning races then, offered the support of a factory determined to get his motorcycle to the front - not the type of bike he was riding, but his race bike. The last few seasons have demonstrated the accuracy of his thoughts - and I think Cal is thinking the same way.

Anyone considering riding for Ducati had best be prepared to be blamed for why the magnificent machine isn't on the podium. One thing Rossi managed to prove is the Ducati design is not comptetive. As david said ages ago, and MCN reiterated this year, the 90degree v 4 is incapable of being competitive as long as tires are designed for narrower angle or inline engines.
Please let's not hear about 07, as that was pre spec tires. The spec tire rule in MotoGp has forced the bikes to be designed around the tires. Ducati seems like it is refusing to try a change in the engine. Last year was a disgrace. They had a rider who was competitive when he wasnt 100%, a 9 time world champ on multiple kinds of bikes, and all hey got was zip. Next season rolls around, and what has changed?

I like cal, and id hate to see him ruin his future on a dog.

Being a Stoner follower from his 250 days, I've watched Hayden's time at Ducati closely.
When the official announcement was made by Ducati that Hayden was joining the team, AMCN printed it word for word.

The interesting thing about it was nowhere did Ducati mention "World Championship", they said he was 'hard working' and gave good 'feed back' etc.

The way it was written it seemed they were more interested him as a development rider than a championship contender considering they already had a rider who could win races, and he seems to have done a pretty good job given the limited amount of new parts he and his team mate/s get to try.

So from past form it would seem more likely to me that a Cruchlow/Hayden combination might happen rather than a Rossi/Cruchlow combo

Nicky has spurned Yamaha twice in the past. When he joined Repsol Honda and Ducati he rejected serious offers from Yamaha. Would not expect that they would be keen to have him on board with that history and Rossi's interest in a Yamaha seat.

Nicky had pretty much always been a Honda rider, except for the few odd seasons on a Suzuki, so if he had gone to Yamaha, then you would have called him Disloyal to Honda.

Then when he went to Ducati in 2009, Yamaha already had Rossi and Lorenzo (who was on a 2-year contract beginning in 2008) so I'm not sure how Nicky could have rejected any Yamaha offer in 2009?

And what factory (besides Honda lol) holds a grudge for a rider choosing to stay with his brand through the series to join MotoGP in 2003? I highly doubt Yamaha would do that.

Yamaha offering to Nicky would give 2 major upsides: Tell Lorenzo that "Hey, we're not going to just grab after stars and sign Rossi just because we want to win no matter what" and show him a little loyalty. 2nd: it would satisfy the people in the Yamaha Camp like Lin Jarvis who aren't keen to have Rossi back. Bonus 3rd: Hayden would be cheap. like under $2mil cheap. Not to say that Cal or Dovi would be able to command any higher.

Someone mentioned on here Hayden at Yamaha. A few years ago, here in America, a full page add was ran by Yamaha, congradulating Hayden for winning the World Championship, (when Honda refused to even acknowledge him). Yamaha have always liked Hayden, and he is a former World Champion with more wins than anyone else at Yamaha, other than Lorenzo. If Ducati is giving him the boot, I bet Yamaha would consider giving Hayden a factory seat. He would not threaten Lorenzo, but he would be good for podiums, podiums are good for points, points are good for Team World Championships. He also does not complain. Dovi, Cal, and Spies have all griped about something or another. Hayden just takes it for the team and does not say anything. He could be a good option for Yamaha if Ducati do not want him. It is almost guaranteed he would do better on ANY other factory or even SATELLITE bike than he is doing on the Ducati Factory bike.

Hayden is not considered by anyone, (at the factories), to be someone that would take another World Championship. Right now at Yamaha, after Rossi/ Lorenzo pairing, I bet they would take Hayden. For the simple fact he is a good workhorse, does his best no matter what the situation is, and does not gripe. A perfect number 2, or B rider. Because in truth. Hayden fan or not, (which I am a Haydan fan, damn near cried when Rossi crashed out and Hayden took the points the championship.), Hayden is now no more than a Number 2 rider, to any Alien he is paired with. Like Barrichelo to Schumacher in Formula 1. But he is worth something. Two Aliens might be a problem, and Yamaha I think may have more than just arguments going on if Rossi pops back up on the team. With Hayden, they know he will just play a support role.

Do not know if that will happen. But now that it seems clear Ducati do not want him, and Honda seemed to never like him in the first place. Yamaha may finally get him if they want to.

I hope Jarvis is right about Rossi being Honda's only hope to contend with Jorge/Yamaha for 2013!!! Not a Jorge fan but the Spaniard is really tough with that M1 and I don't see Rossi beating him on the same machinery. Hayden taking Ben's spot next to Jorge? I don't see that happening but it would please Yamaha USA to have a marketing-gem like Hayden on their payroll! Spies may have a tenth or two on Hayden in the lap-time department. There are only 2 Yamaha M1s available now and there are twice as many riders looking for a competitive bike for 2013...