Hayden denies Superbike suggestions
Nicky Hayden has denied being in discussions over a switch to World Superbikes with Ducati, and says he is determined to remain in the Italian firm's MotoGP line-up
Ducati is known to be talking to Tech 3 Yamaha's Cal Crutchlow about a 2013 MotoGP deal, and with Valentino Rossi now looking more likely to stay on at Ducati, Hayden's future with the team is in doubt.
There had been rumours that Ducati was set to place the 30-year-old American in its Superbike programme, but Hayden dismissed this.
"I haven't thought about that. Everybody says I've spoken to Ducati about World Superbikes. It's never even been mentioned," he said. "It's a rumour people say like they know something, which makes me laugh, because it shows how much journalists really don't know."
He underlined that his focus was on securing a fifth season in Ducati's works MotoGP line-up.
"I have to think about my future. I've said from the beginning that I really like it here. The team is great," said Hayden.
"Obviously we haven't got the results in the last year and a half that maybe I would've expected. We'll see what happens. I hope things work out, I've got a lot of support from people at Ducati, so I hope we can make it happen."
Hayden is also confident that Ducati is now beginning to turn its form around after a very tough start to 2012. Hector Barbera put his Pramac Ducati third on the grid for this weekend's Italian Grand Prix at Mugello, one place ahead of Hayden's works machine.
"Today I'm two seconds faster than last year. I'm not riding two seconds better than last year. Clearly the bike is better," said Hayden.
The 2006 MotoGP champion also believes that Ducati would be better off continuing to develop its current bike rather than having a total design rethink, despite this year's problems.
"I think we need to stay with this bike. I don't think it's right to keep going change, change, change. We need to chip away," Hayden said. "Look at today, we have a package with a lot of potential. Of course we need to improve the engine and we have to get rid of this understeer problem."