Nicky Hayden is hoping to end his Ducati career on a high in this weekend’s Valencia Grand Prix. The American will start his 86th and final race for the Italian squad at the scene of his 2006 title triumph and although he expects to find life difficult, he is promising to give everything in his pursuit of a good result.
“I’ve got some great memories from Valencia. Some people think it’s a bit tight for MotoGP, but I actually like it. I think it’s a fun, scrappy little track, and in the past, it’s been pretty good for Ducati. The new pavement is grippy and doesn’t have a lot of bumps, which is good for us.
“We’ll see what the weather does. It’s the last one of the year, and although we know it’ll be tough to do something great, we’ll put our heads down, try to have some fun and finish in the best way possible.”
Team Manager Vittoriano Guareschi also bids farewell to the Bologna outfit and feels Valencia is the perfect place for their last GP together.
“This is the final round of the championship, Nicky’s last race with us after five years, and also my last one with Ducati. Valencia is a circuit where, in view of its characteristics and numerous ‘stop-and-go’ sections, our bike goes pretty well, so it could be a nice opportunity to bring our adventure to an end and sign off with a good race.
“I’d also like to add that Valencia is the track where my relation with the Desmosedici began in 2002 and it’ll also be where this cycle, full of memories of the last 13 years spent in Ducati, comes to an end.”
Andrea Dovizioso is expecting a competitive showing from Ducati after struggling by and large in the Asian trio of races.
“For us Valencia should be a better track than the latest ones we’ve been to. Of course a lot will depend on the weather, which in this period of the year can be a bit unreliable, but I think that the track will be more suited to our GP13 because there is more grip and the surface is pretty new, so we should go a bit better.
“Then after the race we’ll see what there is to try out during the three days of testing. In any case I don’t have a particularly great rapport with this circuit… I’ve got good memories of the 2011 race when I beat Dani for third place in the championship, but I don’t like the track very much, and I don’t think I’m the only rider who thinks this way.”