Hayden’s Fate Rests with Audi says Ducati

Nicky Hayden

Strange things happen when one company buys another.  With Ducati in strategic limbo land as it awaits the clearance of the final regulatory approvals for Audi to purchase the company, Nicky Hayden finds himself caught up in “business as usual”.

Speaking from much experience, I can tell you that during a change of control period in the business world, leaders preach to their employees the need for “business as usual”.  Change of control means uncertainty, none more so when the deal has been announced but not yet consummated.

This is the position Ducati finds itself in with respect to Audi.  Even though the deal was announced months ago, the transaction has yet to close meaning Ducati must still operate as an independent entity, even if it will shortly come under German control.

The one exception is in the area of strategic activities.  About to be gobbled up companies tend to delay any major decision that would otherwise bind the hands of the new owners to something they might not agree to.  Example.  MotoGP racing contracts.

Ducati hold an option on the services of Nicky Hayden for their factory Ducati MotoGP team.  An option is the right, but not the obligation, to contract the Kentucky kid.  With the option almost expired, Ducati claim to not be able to exercise it due to the impending Audi takeover.  That hasn’t seemed to stop them courting Cal Crutchlow.

With the Briton currently hot property it makes sense for Ducati to see if they can entice the Englishman before sticking with the tried and true Hayden.  In addition dating and actually getting married are too entirely different things as Hayden is finding out.

“They have an option on me, but that expires in a couple of days,” Hayden said. “(They say that) until the Audi deal is complete they can’t do nothing. We’ve had some good talks and other times … not really sure.”

And as Nicky points out, Ducati likely have other things on their mind.

“I’m sure Valentino is their first priority,” Hayden said of Ducati’s plans.

Once the option on Nicky expires, he is free to shop himself around to any other takers.  Hayden sits in 7th position in the MotoGP title chase this year so far, just 2 points behind his famous team-mate.  Although the 2006 MotoGP World Champion and 3 times race winner is not a title contender, his high work rate, amiable character and country of origin still make him an attractive choice for many teams.

And for Ducati fans who think that Cal might be able to jump on the Ducati and do a Casey, Nicky has some advice for them after getting up close and personal with Crutchlow at Assen.

“I rode a lot with Cal today. Of course Cal has got the right attitude and he is not going to give up easily, 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.”

Sources: Superbikeplanet, Sport Rider

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19 Responses to “Hayden’s Fate Rests with Audi says Ducati”

  1. C’mon u can’t loose Hayden ! Ditch the show pony and keep the quiet acheiver.

  2. Hey..I don’t really get it??what its mean??

  3. Nicky belongs at Ducati, period.

  4. What Ducati need more than anything at this point is continuity to keep developing the bike. Hayden is a great counter point to Rossi and visa versa.

  5. Rossi out Hayden stay

  6. Ky kidd is great – get rid of sweet lipps

  7. Yeah right, blame it all on Audi. The problems existed long before Audi came in. Fire Rossi, move Hayden in WSBK and quit the Moto GP effort.

  8. To a novice, it sure appears Nicky is trying and riding harder than Rossi.

    If Ducati leaves MotoGP, MotoGP is done. WSBK is more exciting to watch, so I wouldn’t be that disappointed.

  9. If he’s lucky they will dump him so he can go ride a competitive bike…like Stoners ride when he retires.

  10. Seriously? Who produces the best result week after week and doesn’t bash the bike in the press? Keep Nicky and let Max go

  11. At this point in the competition Nicky has been doing a much better job than Rossi. Unfortunately, Rossi sells a lot more merchandising, is an Italian working for an european company and has a podium history but I really think Rossi is not able to compete with the new blood anymore. Business can be cold but the KY kid truly deserves a better bike and at this moment a better company to ride for (on a personal note… it sucks to watch Ducati lose over and over again).

  12. It takes normaly 2 years to get a bike right. They drive it now for 6 month. If the bike is going better Rossi will be competitive as always.

  13. What courage to blame it on Audi while they float the offer to Cal. Disgusting but not unexpected. Change the bike so Rossi can be competitive with the old design ridden by Hector and finish in the double digits (place, not points). Genius.

    I hope the lunch bucket kid gets a better offer and then Vale can choke on Cal’s dust.

    Keep selling the McDonalds 46, Ducati.

  14. Ducati-audi are going to waste more money again on rossi,he not worth it keep nicky and get some other fresh new rider.every dog has its day and rossi had hes

  15. It would be a real shame to see Captain Scarlet go from Ducati, he is always upbeat and upfront (well as near the front as a Ducati can be these days) I hope he doesn’t go to CRT.

  16. Its a stupid thing to say about a 7 times world champion ” every dog has its day “.

  17. The Italians are so desperately self interested in having an Italian rider to fawn over that they made the mistake of pushing out Stoner who produced unbelievable results on a practically unrideable bike (something Rossi himself acknowledged) and now they are shafting Hayden who is demonstrably better than Rossi with the same equipment. They should not forget where they are now selling the most bikes outside of Italy – an American rider is very strategic. Courting Crutchlow is insensitive and dumb. Hayden should give them the bird. He clearly still has the talent.

  18. @ Andrew W….

    Couldn’t have said it better, Nicky is very loyal (even with Honda after they built a bike for Pedrosa (who still hasn’t won a title)…

    If they don’t sign Nicky they will lose face staying with Rossi…no matter how many t-shirts they sell…

    Maybe Nicky should be Lorenzo’s teammate, hmmm???

  19. Casey Palmer on July 6th, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    They would be stupid to get rid of Nicky when he is clearly riding the bike better than Rossi. Rossi has one podium and then lucky to get in the top ten every other race. Nicky is consistantly making the top ten. He has a better chance of getting Ducati back on top then Rossi without a doubt. Rossi is arguably the best rider out there but he’s struggling with that bike and needs to refurbish his career on another factory.