The 2011 MotoGP season didn’t work out too well for the Ducati team. Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden struggled to find the perfect setup throughout the season and only managed a couple of podiums. But Hayden is confident that last year’s work will start paying off in 2012.
“2011 didn’t go as we hoped; we tried everything, but never got the results we deserved,” Hayden said. “I felt we were close at the end of the year, but we weren’t able to make it happen. Regardless, we learned a lot. This year the goal is to make the bike work in the way we want so we can be more consistent in every race.”
Hayden’s 2012 racing season was put in jeopardy last month after he broke his scapula while training. But Hayden says that the shoulder won’t be an issue in 2012.
“I’m better now, the sling is off and I can start rehab,” Hayden said. “The goal is to ride in Malaysia — I missed Valencia and I don’t want to miss another test.”
The 2011 Ducati may have not worked well for Rossi and Hayden, but the 2012 season will introduce 1000cc motorcycles, something that Hayden believes will work to his advantage.
“It’s a big year for me; it’s the first year back on 1000cc bikes, with new rules and new bikes so I need to have a good season and show my potential, in some ways there is a lot of pressure but I’m looking forward to this season and to go for it,” Hayden said. “They’ll have more power off the bottom and top speeds will be higher, but the electronics have changed so much since 2006, people who think those bikes are going to be backing in and spinning and smoking the tires – that’s over, that’s not going to happen with these bikes– the biggest thing will be the wheeling and keeping the bike down, especially on tracks where the gearing is a lot shorter. The bikes will be lighter, and have a couple other things that should suit me.”
Hayden’s teammate is also hopeful for the 2012 season, but Rossi admits that a championship could be difficult.