Nicky Hayden believes Ducati’s GP12 will be competitive to help the American and team-mate Valentino Rossi become consistent podium contenders in the 2012 MotoGP world championship.
Ducati is looking to bounce back from a disastrous 2011 campaign that saw Hayden and Rossi collect just one rostrum apiece on the GP11 Desmosedici.
Hayden and Rossi officially unveiled the new GP12 contender during an internet launch on Facebook yesterday (Monday) ahead of this weekend’s final MotoGP pre-season test at the Jerez circuit in Spain.
And Hayden told MCN prior to the launch that he trusts Ducati has got it right with the new bike, which features a conventional twin spar aluminium frame and revised engine position to help solve a persistent vague front-end feeling that was such a hindrance in 2011.
Hayden told MCN: “Obviously it is going to be a big year for me. I need to come out strong and have a good year and hopefully not be talking about it too much in November sitting on my couch. I believe in myself and I believe in Ducati a lot.
"I think Filippo (Preziosi) is a genius and I got a good team around me. They did a double season last year and it felt like they were completely changing the bike almost everyday. So I’m looking forward to having a strong season.”
The 30-year-old is one of several riders out of contract in 2012, including Rossi, reigning world champion Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies.