Ducati Press Release: Hayden's Turn To Ride The GP12 - Now With Video

Yesterday, it was Valentino Rossi's turn; today, it was Nicky Hayden who got to ride the Ducati Desmosedici GP12 machine. Here's what he had to say to the Ducati Corse press office, complete with a couple of photos from the day:


The final day of testing at Jerez de la Frontera didn't get started until 1:00 p.m., due to unfavorable weather conditions that greeted the Ducati Marlboro Team on its arrival at the circuit. High humidity that bordered on rain made riding on the track impractical until lunchtime, when the sun came out and thoroughly dried the asphalt.

Nicky Hayden was therefore able to try the GP12, just as his teammate had done yesterday, and he quickly made up for lost time, lapping almost continuously until completing 61 laps.

"When I woke up this morning, the sky was really gray and the track was completely wet," said Nicky Hayden. "I was pretty disappointed. I didn't think we'd be able to do anything because it wouldn't have made sense to waste a day testing in those conditions. The situation got better and better though, and after lunch, I was able to put on my leathers. I couldn't wait to ride, and it was worth the wait. It's an honor to be able to participate in the first track test of the GP12 because it doesn't happen very often that you get to ride a bike on the track for the first time: it's a special feeling. Everything went well, and we didn't have a single problem: the motor is really nice to use, and I had a lot of fun riding the bike. I hope I gave some useful feedback to Filippo and the boys. I know they'll be working on this bike while we go back to focusing on the next race, because this season just started."

"First of all, I'd like to thank everyone at Ducati," said Filippo Preziosi, "because thanks to their hard work and expertise, it was possible to carry out three days of trouble-free testing and complete nearly a thousand kilometers with the GP12 in its track debut. Having received consistent feedback about the bike from four different riders puts us in a position to efficiently continue the development process, because we can prioritize the work we have left to carry out." 

Nicky Hayden on the Ducati GP12 at Jerez

Nicky Hayden on the Ducati GP12 at Jerez


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Haydens fairing is different than Rossi's was yesterday, as it doesn't have the "shark" gills. Also, the swingarm on Nicks bike doesn't look the same as the one from yesterday, actually Nicky's bike looks a lot like the GP11????

Actually, the third picture looks like a GP10.

Thanks for the follow up and the excellent shots David. I can't help but feel it all means diddly squat right now.
This is a rehashed PR effort dating back to Valencia 2010 and beyond through to the previous Jerez tests undertaken by Franco and Vito in changeable weather conditions as I recall.
Exactly what does this test do to enhance their chances in terms of here and now being 2011 ?.
With all the Jerez testing and umpteen km under their belts prior to the recent Jerez GP round,surely they should have been right up the leaderboard in practise and qualifying.
Valentino likes it,Nicky praises the efforts.Their Jerez results were great for them as a result of a crashfest,given the weather.
The GP12 bike will be a 1000cc machine.The HRC and Yamaha bikes will also be 1000cc along with whomoever else joins the party,I guess.
Right now,Ducati remind me of a once deprived kid in a candy store with too much money to burn.
Spoiled for choices and no direction. It spins up nicely.
I hope Karel dumps those idiotic winglets at the next round,or is he contracted to use them in order to save face and prove it was an insightfull aerodynamic developement to plant the front at 60 degree lean angle on a wet track with a cross wind ?

>>> although you may 100% right, this is great stuff! At least for those of us that can't get enough of MotoGP. I don't care if it's a PR stunt .... it's another opportunity to see the MotoGP bikes in action! And that is enough to put a smile on my face. Sure, it does nothing for the "here and now" .... but unless you just can't stand to see a bike on the track, I don't see what harm it is doing?

And how can winglets be "idiotic"?

I, for one, am totally digging the fact this is going on at Jerez. :)


So PitBull thinks that its just PR, not for here n now. Just suppose that this new bike had a reverse firing order and was turning good, that would give Ducati a new direction to improve understeer, so it might help development of 2011, who knows.

Also it gives a leg up as to if to use 1000cc or 900cc as was originally the plan and test fuel consumption versus power at real world speed of racers and not testers mileage.

I know that Ducati are gonna come good after the Estoril tests so i'll keep hope alive that VR46 will make life torrid at the front for the other aliens.

I look at the third picture, and I'm amazed at how similar Nicky's body positioning is to Stoner's. I click the picture for a closer look, and I realize that Nicky is wearing Alpinestars leathers. I look closely at the helmet, and I realize that it is indeed Casey Stoner's helmet.

I think someone got the picture databases a bit mixed up :)

That third pic is not stoner because he never rode a duc in that livery. Test rider maybe...

Look at the opening for ventilation. It's not a GP11 or a GP12. It's an older bike. The nose section, the swingarm, the bulge in the lower fairing, and the cutaway in the lower fairing near the footpeg looks like GP10 spec.

I don't know which is more outlandish: 1. Someone who is trying to sell a photo photoshops an old pick of Stoner testing 2. Ducati have found a test rider who positions himself exactly like Casey Stoner, and they sent him out in Stoner gear on a GP10 to get a few glam shots for the PR department.

Both seem ridiculous, but I'm leaning towards photoshopping.

I just grabbed it off the Ducati Press site looking at the colors (they only show the thumbnails, so didn't get a close up view). Well spotted, and sorry for the confusion.

...checked the photo, and it is, indeed, not Nicky. It's not an Arai helmet, but the new Ducati/Marlboro team logo is clearly visible on the helmet, so it's definitely not Casey, as they didn't have the "half of a Marlboro logo" logo last year...

Helluva good job of spotting that, though...

As far as being cynical, hard-boiled, and pessimistic about it...I am one of those who just enjoys getting more, more, more of the news that's available. I totally agree that anything learned here at the test cannot but help the current goings on for the team.

And once again, the "faculty" here at MM distinguishes themselves as a big part of the reason that MM is the "best of the best".

As already pointed out, that is this year's livery (the AMG logo is the dead giveaway).

What's humorous is that someone at Ducati maybe can't even tell the difference between Hayden testing next year's bike and Battaini testing this year's!

I have never read a statement quoting Nickly Hayden in a press release in which he is anything but effusive toward whatever project he is riding, no matter how big a pile of .... it is. By anyone's estimation, three wins in nine years on factory bikes does not make him a stand-out performer and one would have to say his 'development' skills are questionable. Cannot fault his work ethic though, but that doesn't win races.

What's a great rider to do when they come into a league when there are 2-4 times the number of riders that are a world apart from the rest. There always are these 'alien' riders that make the rest look like they are lost. But it can be thought of as relative. He has been fortunate to have stayed on factory bikes, but like Elias on the other end of the spectrum, who is more deserving? Being on the outside cusp of alien status along with Dovisioso and Spies is just a reality of having so many once-in-a-generation riders. Barros, Checa and Capirossi all have been very close to the highest level of the league in their long careers. I'd put Hayden in that class. If riders placing 15th are making up the numbers on the grid, great riders like these have been making up the numbers in the now 7 rider league of factory bikes. It's a hell of a position to be in. And, personally, I am definitely not a fan of Hayden.

...and even if he is not Ago or Doohan he is definitely a very good rider if on the right bike (which you can say for most of them).
Take 2006. Not many win, that's true, but an impressive streak:
HAYDEN Nicky USA 252 16 20 16 20 11 16 20 25 9 16 25 7 13 11 11 - 16

Not only he managed to be WC against an albeit unlucky Rossi (but still the one who contends Ago the role of GOAT) ... but also to be ahead of the rest of the pack. Otherwise Loris or Marco or Dani or whoelse (Kenny, Colin, Casey, Toni you choose) would have been the WC.

This to say that although he may not go down in history as one of the greatest he is still a very good rider and I believe ofter undervalued.

Then it's also nice, serious and very professional but this is another story.

He sells lots of motorcycles and I am willing to bet could ride circles around anyone here on Any track.

The field is so competive these days, with folks like Lorenzo, Stoner and Rossi that have they have the "it" what ever It is? The a few percentage point better, and it transilates hugely on the track.

Nicky's very very good, he just not great.. but their are only 4 or 5 folks that are great... and that's not much of a grid. There are a few other riders that don't have even Nicky's level of talent (caprex) that should give up their seats and move on.

I always think of Michael Jordan - the greatest basket ball player of all time(IMO). IN the 90's He put all of his resources and talent into trying to play baseball - and was not much more than a hack... His talent was in basketball. Maybe Nicky's is dirt track or whatever but he still does a great job and makes podiums.


I agree with your opinion Brookespeed,pretty well summed up. I'm not particularly well disposed towards Nick,yet at the same time not against him.
Of the 7 rider league,Nick is arguably the weakest link,the other being Dovi. The great thing about his championship in 2006 was the very nature of it. Game,grit and consistency.
One of the great things about Nick is his market draw for Ducati in the USA.
Anyway,back to the GP12 tests. The old news is that the GPC decided to go back to 1000cc for 2012 many moons back. No doubt HRC and Yamaha have been working as hard as Ducati on the same angle,within the available time frame.
I will,at the risk of persecution,add this titbit.
Given that Franco was the shot in frame 3 as pointed out by Phoenix 1, does anyone really believe HRC and Yamaha are not testing their GP12 prototypes with test riders on board ?
Placing the Ducati factory riders on board is commendable,as I do believe your best racer is generally your best test pilot.
Having done this test in Jerez is also a pointer.Not Ducati's best track by a country mile,especially since Loris' stunning 2006 win.
Bottom line.They are working very hard to fix a bunch of issues. HRC and Yamaha are doing the same thing without going public.
Suzuki...??? I hope they stay in the game.
As for Nick,he is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Definitely not his place within the heirarchy in Bologna to outshine Valentino. Game and grit probably won't enable him to shine very brightly this year,nor 2012 1000cc and beyond.

I think if someone was ever to benefit from the 1000cc come back, it's going to be Nicky, his game decidedly dropped in 07 when the 800's came in,that favored the Pedrosa's and Stoner's end of the spectrum, small, 250 stars, while Nicky came from the big bore world of SBK. I wouldn't write off Nicky just yet, I want to see how all the small framed riders do with the 1000's, though I believe they still have the option of riding an 800(?), now that would be interesting huh? A mixed grid :)

He's small too. Not Pedrosa tiny, but not a big person by any standard.

These bikes aren't going to be suddenly unwieldy into corners forcing riders to just square things off and rip them out like superbikes from 10 years ago. I have a feeling they'll be just like the 800s but faster!

before you write Nicky Hayden off as low 2nd tier rider, let's consider a couple things.

1. Hayden does have a world championship. Dani does not.
2. Puig/Pedrosa/Repsol pretty much dictated that Dani would get the RCV designed for him and not the reigning champion. Hayden was sent to develop the pneumatic valve system and electronics which ultimately led to a couple of races causes him not to finish due to technical reasons.
2. Hayden has made drastic improvements from 09 to 2010 in his skills on the Ducati. Considering this is the "beast" that only Stoner could ride well, Hayden proved he had the ability to adapt his style and have some pretty strong finishes on the Ducati last year. His DNF's, like Stoner's, were caused by the front end giving out, suprised? Ok, so he didn't ride the Ducati as hard as Stoner did in order to get heat in the front tire, but considering we now know exactly how much better configured the Yamaha and Honda were, you have to give Hayden credit for his results last season.
3. Once again, he has become the parts tester. However, now that Ducati is actually listening to their number 1 rider, and making developmental changes, it is only a matter of time before Hayden gets to see the benefits of Rossi's work. Now I'm not saying Hayden's style is similar to Rossi's, because it isn't. But Hayden has proven that he can adjust his style to the bike.
4. He is the first Ducati rider to finish on the podium this year. period.
5. His game is consistency. He doesn't take risks like Casey or Rossi, and he may not have the precision of JL, but before trying to tame the Ducati, and before losing his position in HRC to Dani, Nicky was a very consistent rider.

Hayden is definitely the quiet one. He only voices optimism and never complains about what he is given. And for this very reason it seems that many internet MotoGP bloggers don't see all that much in Hayden because he's never causing much drama, and drama is half of what MotoGP is about. Ok, maybe 90% racing, but we can't deny that some of the hottest stories in MotoGP revolve around mysterious illnesses, inter-garage and paddock feuds, and speculation about who's going to be signing where next year.
Much like Colin Edwards, and Ben Spies, the Americans seem to keep their lips fairly shut when it comes to causing a ruckus in the headlines.
Having come from the dirt mile track, I believe Hayden will become a more competitive rider with the bump to larger displacement engines assuming Ducati does increase from the 800cc formula. Does anyone else remember the powerslide blocking Hayden was pulling on Dovi at Indy in 09? That type of racing is Hayden's bread and butter, and the 800cc formula of corner speed and electronics just doesn't suit that. Now it's possible that the change to larger displacement bike won't change the riding styles since electronics have come so far in the last decade. We shall see next year. Until then, I'll keep rooting for the good ole' boy *69.

Hayden is definitely the quiet one. He only voices optimism and never complains about what he is given. And for this very reason it seems that many internet MotoGP bloggers don't see all that much in Hayden because he's never causing much drama, and drama is half of what MotoGP is about. Ok, maybe 90% racing, but we can't deny that some of the hottest stories in MotoGP revolve around mysterious illnesses, inter-garage and paddock feuds, and speculation about who's going to be signing where next year.
end of quote

Well this is actually one of the reason why I like him so much and I respect him. The second one is because he used to be (and partially still is) one of the guys putting in more laps and work during practice. He may not be at the front but he does whatever he can for that.

I'm sure you mean the Premier class, but nonetheless Pedrosa does have 3 titles from the lower classes so he knows how to win.

All these guys can spin it up at will. Remember Pedrosa won a couple of 990 races on debut too.

Simple question. Who do you consider to be the better of the two riders - Pedrosa or Hayden? I firmly believe it is the former.

That question is rigged.  The two riders are so different, no matter how the question is framed, the answer requires qualifiers.

However, this is exactly the kind of "debate" that is not necessary in keeping with the standards of this website.  This is a news article about Nicky Hayden having tested the "2012" early prototype.  It is not an invitation to further advance one's approval or disapproval of his presence in the sport.

as long as it is courteous and polite, I don't see any reason for restraining sharing our opinions, that is the purpose of the comments section, isn't it?
It was always a joy to watch Nicky riding the 990, he won a world title because he was very consistent at the top in 2006, no question about it.
But to be fair, he was only better than Pedrosa on the Spaniard's rookie year. They both had 2 wins in 2006 and since then Pedrosa consistently finished higher than Hayden who did not win a single race since his world title (Hayden 1-3 podiums a year, Pedrosa 8-11).
Though Pedrosa's career is still a disappointment since he was promised to an even brighter future after what he has shown in 125 and 250 (3 world titles...in a row!).
As far as MotoGP titles go, Hayden 1- Pedrosa 0 and even if my mind there is no question about the respective level of each rider, it will be very difficult for Dani to equal that.
Nicky is a brave rider and he's has been the only rider (waiting for Rossi to add up to the list) to be consistently fighting in the top6 with the Ducati so he deserves lots of credit for this, this is no small feat! If thanks to Rossi's indications the Ducati becomes a little more predictable he may break into the top3 more often.

I don't think Nostros question was loaded, rude or meant with any suggestion that Nicky isn't worth his place?
They do have completely different racing backgrounds but are trying to achieve the same thing, success in the top class, so with 2012 looming the question is a legitimate one.
Hayden has a great attitude and I would like to think his talent is right up there with Danis. Outright pace, win and podium ability need to have consistency, mental and physical resilience as allied positive traits, not to mention a bit of good fortune. The bottom-line is..He has a MotoGP title, Dani doesn't.
How much the switch back to litre bikes will favour him, given the fuel limit and advancement in electronics, is something we're all looking forward to judging next year. Both Ducati pilots have indicated the bigger motor is "fun". I'm hoping that will translate into racing that's more "squirrely" than the surgeon like 800s, which could breathe new life into Nickys game.

And that is attitude and a pit crew structure that pampers his ego. Ok, maybe 2 things. All the top riders with the exception of Stoner have the attitude that they are the best and their crew only reinforces that idea. I think Stoner takes energy from his rough road to the premier class and flourishes under criticism so is a different breed of rider. Rossi, Lorenzo and Pedrosa all need their egos pumped up to create a self fulfilling prophesy that they are the best. And usually it works. With Rossi most of the time. When has Nicky had complete support from his employer and not just duties as a part tester? I remember an interview with Pete Benson on 2007 about riders he was happy to have worked for and he mentions Doohan and Rossi and not Hayden at all. The year after he wins the title. Talk about lack of mental support.

Nicky's post 2006 results were admittedly crap, but think what your motivation would be if you brought your employer a premier class world championship and their response was to design a bike you couldn't fit on at the urging of your teammate's manager. I think Nicky's riding is as good as any others' when he is on, but he is a little too psychologically weak to be able to turn his game on at all will. You can see it in how he does not battle for position when being challenged. And this is coming from a big Nicky fan.

As far as improving the Ducati, they have had years to ignore good feedback from great riders but now that Rossi is there his genius will fix all their problems. Talk about dissing all the riders trying to improve your bike for the past 4 years!

Nicky will always have a world title to his name, something Pedrosa is still working on.


Nick laid absolute waste to the field at a certain venue in 2005. Every single session... Then he rode his Dad pillion for the victory lap flying the Stars and Bars. It was a sight to see.

He deserves his ride.

Nick certainly deserves his ride. Great improvement from 2009 to 2010.
Commitment,temperament and work ethic are his outstanding qualities.
Alien he ain't and most likely never will be.
Two great things about Nick as a racer is that he is not injury prone and very consistent. The consistency part is relevant to the package he has per race weekend coupled to his comfort zone.
Consistently being where you expect him,based on the time sheets he posts over the weekend prior to the race.
When a spanner is thrown in the works like in Jerez,he capitilizes on his consistency.
A 100% grafter and a 98% racer on the day. Conservative.

Nicky has not shown "alien' speed but he has a lot going for him. He deserves his ride because...

1) He has proven that he is faster than all but a handful of MotoGP riders for many years now.
2) He is a super person (as are all the Hayden family)
3) He earned and deserved his world champion status because he had more points than anyone else in 2006. None of the other competitors were as fast and/or consistant. The rules state that the man with the most points at the end of the year is champion. No ifs, ands, buts, or excuses are acceptable for giving additional points.
4) He has always been the second rider on all his teams and as such he always has received the "red headed stepchild" treatment.
5) He, like many others, have had to race against one of the best riders in MotoGP history. If you take Vale out of the picture he would have a much better record (as would many others).
6) MotoGP is a much better series with Nicky in it. They need more like him.

Didn't Hayden win the Championship in his 3rd year? I noticed his steady progression from his first year to his second year, and then to his World Championship winning season. He came on strong at the end of 2005 and carried it over into 2006.

Then came the 800cc debacle. 1st year struggled. Last half of his second year on the Honda he had shown some improvement.

Then the switch to Ducati. 1st year a struggle. Second year a huge improvement, showing that a Ducati being ridden by someone else other than Stoner. Third year, he has the first podium for Ducati at a bad Ducati track. Even though, as he admitted himself, it probably wouldn't be without the rain. But, still...on the box.

He has shown that if given a bit of time, he can adapt and figure out how to ride whatever he is on, which displays the kind of talent he has. He is not Dani, Lorenzo, Stoner or Rossi. But he is a world champ.

The 3rd photo in the sequence was removed, as it was of Franco Battaini, Ducati's test rider, on the GP11, rather than Nicky Hayden on the GP12. Sorry for the confusion.

you could so elegantly relate your opinion of the Kentucky Kid? I would love to hear your honest opinion as it is so genuinely clear of bias. I'm a Nicky fan, but that's just because I'm an American, and that is how I got so enthused with the sport. However I realize ever MotoGP racer does have their flaws, but there abilities far outweigh anything 99.9% of the population could ever conceive doing on a motorcycle. Like I said, I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic, good or bad.