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Honda Believes in Nicky Hayden

You can think what you will about Nicky Hayden, but when HRC responds to a bidding war with Ducati by retaining Hayden with a two-year contract for the factory Repsol squad, it is a huge vote of confidence. With guys like Freddy Spencer and Mick Doohan keeping a close eye on his progress, and reporting their thoughts to HRC, you know that Nicky must be moving in the right direction both as a racer and as a development rider.

It also means Hayden is holding up extremely well under the pressure of leading the MotoGP series — if HRC sensed otherwise you can bet he would be gone next year. Of course, he may still fail to hold off the late-season charge by Valentino Rossi, but Honda’s hand was forced with Ducati waiting in the wings, and the deal could not wait.