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Hayden: `I know what a huge opportunity I´ve been given´

Hayden: `I know what a huge opportunity I´ve been given´

The 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden wants to get back to the levels of competitiveness he achieved in his title winning season following his move to Ducati.

Speaking on Tuesday at the annual Ducati Wrooom event, in the Italian Dolomite mountains, American rider Nicky Hayden was forthright in his comments about resurrecting his career with his new employers.

Since reaching the MotoGP pinnacle in 2006 Hayden has endured two subsequent seasons of difficult racing with Repsol Honda - before making the switch to Italian machinery following the conclusion of the 2008 campaign.

Summarising his current outlook Hayden revealed, `On Sunday I tried on my Ducati leathers for the first time in an official photo session and I felt very proud. I know what a huge opportunity I´ve been given and I´m very grateful to Ducati, Marlboro and everybody who has shown faith in me in this new chapter of my career.´

The former World Champion from Owensboro, Kentucky, has already been impressed by those around him at Ducati in his two initial outings at Valencia and Jerez, before the December-January test ban.

`I was immediately struck by the dedication and passion that the team is famous for and by how hard everybody is trying to make me feel comfortable in these new surroundings, as they have done helping me adapt to the bike and get the most out of it. So far everything has gone really well,´ Hayden noted.

`Obviously I need to get faster in order to be truly competitive but I already love the bike. I can´t say it´s easy to ride, it gets pretty loose on corner exit sometimes but the engine is powerful and that is important, especially in a race situation. The chassis is nice and stiff so you get plenty of feedback and I like the feeling with the front, which is really stable in the fast corners.´

Looking ahead to continuing his preparations for his Ducati debut in 2009 alongside his friend and new team-mate Casey Stoner, Hayden went on to say, `I´m happy to be working with Casey – we´ve known each other for a few years now, you could say we´ve got similar backgrounds having not come up through European competition and having started out racing in dirt-track.´

`We´re both competitive and we´re going to want to beat one another but we´ll also work together to make a strong team. As far as my expectations for the season are concerned, I still have a lot of faith in myself and in what I´m capable of. The first objective is to get back to the same level I was at in 2006, challenging consistently for the podium and trying to start winning races again.´

MotoGP, 2008, Nicky Hayden, Ducati Marlboro Team

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