The ‘Kentucky Kid’ returns to action at the Indianapolis Grand Prix after missing the two races after injuring his ankle while participating in the X Games Aug. 1. The injury was the latest setback in a disappointing season for the 2006 MotoGP Champion, and came just as he started to show improvements riding the pneumatic-valve Honda RC212V.
“I have had a long history with Honda,” says Hayden. “We’ve had a lot of good races together, won championships in the AMA, and obviously the World Championship was the big one. Sure, every day wasn’t just a big holiday but we had some good days, and I’m really grateful for the opportunity they gave me. But I think it’s time to move on, try something different.”
Rumors have been circulating of a jump to Ducati to replace the Kawasaki-bound Marco Melandri. Without actually mentioning Ducati, Hayden hinted that speculation may soon turn to reality.
“It’s no secret; everybody knows where my next stop is going to be,” says Hayden. “But officially we’re waiting on to do it the right way until the releases come out because there’s teams and stuff.”
If Hayden does join Ducati Marlboro, he’ll form a formidable racing duo with the 2007 MotoGP Champion Casey Stoner on the Ducati Desmosedici GP9.