Ducati welcomed its newest MotoGP factory rider, American Nicky Hayden, by decking out a Desmosedici GP09 with special 'Stars & Stripes' livery. Hayden turned his first laps on the Ducati today after riding for Honda the last ten years.
Nicky Hayden had all of a half day to lament the fact that he no longer races for Honda before his new Italian employers put him to work. Hayden turned his first laps aboard the Desmosedici GP09 today at the scene of yesterday's MotoGP finale, the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia, Spain.
Hayden, the 2006 World Champion, rode a Ducati decorated with a special Stars and Stripes livery for the occasion. Not only is the Kentucky Kid getting a fresh start with a new team, but it is also his first time sampling the wares of his new tire manufacturer, Bridgestone. Hayden posted a best lap time of 1'33.960 on a day that was more about acclimatizing to the new bike than quick lap times.
Hayden finished fifth yesterday in his final race with the Repsol Honda team and earned sixth in the final 2008 GP point standings. The American rider has been with Honda for the last ten years, a span that includes the MotoGP championship two years back.
Nick the Quick will join 2007 World Champion Casey Stoner for the Marlboro Ducati team in 2009, giving the Ducati factory squad a potent 1-2 punch.