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Hayden upbeat and considering 2014 options

Nicky Hayden will start the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix from the second row, having qualified sixth for Ducati Team. Furthermore, the 2006 World Champion has confirmed that he is engaged in talks with the likes of LCR Honda MotoGP for 2014.

Prior to the mid-season break, Hayden announced at Laguna Seca that he will not be remaining with Ducati into 2014. However this did not distract the American on Saturday, confidently qualifying sixth quickest – four tenths of a second and as many positions ahead of teammate Andrea Dovizioso.

“For sure, it wasn’t the smoothest one!” he said. “Especially in FP4, when we went a little bit backwards with some settings - especially with rear grip. For Q2 they built the new shock really quickly and the guys did a really good job, I felt better and was able to go reasonably quickly.

“It wasn’t like, ‘Wow, we’re on the front row!’ but to squeeze onto the second row is definitely better than we have done in qualifying for some races. The lap time was not too bad, but considering how the last few races have gone I’m pretty happy with that and it would be great to race with that group for as long as possible tomorrow.”

During motogp.com’s live coverage of fourth free practice at the iconic Motor Speedway, Lucio Cecchinello – CEO of LCR Honda MotoGP – confirmed that he is in discussions with Hayden for a possible ride in 2014 on a ‘Honda production racer’.

“That is still a dream for me because...[pause]…let’s say there is maybe some small possibility,” Cecchinello commented. “We are still talking with HRC (Honda Racing Corporation) and HRC is talking with Honda here in America. We will try to see if there is some way to find the budget to organise a second bike here in this team.”

Hayden also acknowledged the possibility as a potentially exciting prospect.

“Well, that’s a very interesting opportunity, but at the moment I have a couple of good opportunities going so I am pretty excited,” continued the title winner of seven years ago. “There is definitely going to be a big change for me next year; there are some things that look very promising but still a lot of details to be worked out, so it’s still a long way off being close to any decision.

“But it looks promising, so I’m quite excited about everything. We don’t really know the level of the ‘production racers’ for next year, so we don’t really know how much potential they will have, but there are some good things coming and I am looking forward to the future. However there is still a lot of racing to come this year and I want to finish with (Ducati Team) in absolutely the best way possible – and hopefully go off with something we can be proud of.”

When asked whether he could confirm whether talks are ongoing with the LCR outfit, Hayden replied: “Yes, there has been some discussion. I’m not going to deny that.”

2013 marks Hayden’s fifth and final MotoGP™ campaign with Ducati Team, which he joined from Repsol Honda Team at the start of 2009.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2013, Nicky Hayden, Ducati Team

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