Nicky Hayden has finally said in an interview what everybody already knew- that he would be leaving Honda at the end of the 2008 MotoGP season. While he has yet to go on record concerning his contract with Ducati for next season, what little he is saying about his relationship with HRC hints at a very nasty relationship. As the split has grown more official, so has Nicky’s boldness for speaking out concerning his increasingly negligent treatment by HRC over the course of his career with the factory Honda team in MotoGP.
Update: Nicky has officially joined Casey Stoner at Ducati for the 2009 season.
>Famous for downplaying his ability in deferment of the either HRC or the RCV212V, the Kentucky Kid is changing his tune and gave a surprisingly telling opinion recently on the HRC outfit. “I really want to feel again like a teammate, I mean to be in a team where everyone works in the same direction and shares information. I can’t wait for that moment to come.”
At his press conference yesterday in Indianapolis, not only did Hayden make the split official, he threw in his strongest criticisms to date. Referring to Pedrosa’s mid-season switch to Bridgestone, Hayden stated, “Obviously there will now be a wall down the middle of the pit-box, but to be honest there was already a bit of a wall there.”
The best dig came however while quelling rumors of a mid-season departure, with Nicky saying “There are probably people in that box that if I didn’t show up would probably never notice!” Ouch. Sadly, we have to agree and don’t expect HRC to bother responding to his comment.
Frankly, we’re really excited to see Hayden move away from a team that we feel always considered him a secondary rider. While that dismissive corporate behavior was acceptable during the Rossi/HRC era, HRC clearly cared more for developing the diminutive 2007 RC212V to Pedrosa’s wants even whilst Hayden was in the process of being the first rider to wrest the title from Valentino Rossi in half a decade.
We’ll see how Ducati fairs in 2009 with two consecutive World Champions for a factory team. To Honda’s detriment, we’re guessing they’ll do mighty fine.