Hayden keen to stay at Honda

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 September, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 September, 2006, 12:00am

MotoGP frontrunner Nicky Hayden of the United States has said he is keen to remain with Honda despite attractive offers from rivals Yamaha and Ducati.

'My plan if things work out, is to stay with Honda,' he said.

Honda officials said yesterday that 25-year-old Hayden would either announce his decision at this weekend's race in Malaysia or the following contest in Japan.

'He [Hayden] has got good offers from Yamaha and Ducati. But Honda wants to keep him. He is very important to us,' Iain Mackay, Honda's public relations manager, said.

'We will do everything necessary to keep him.'

Mackay said talks were ongoing with Hayden, adding 'we are confident Nicky will stay with us and a decision could be made any time'.

'But we are not putting pressure on him because the single most important thing for him and Honda is to win the championship title,' Mackay said.

Hayden holds a 25-point lead in the riders world championship standings thanks to a stunning 2006 campaign which has seen him take two victories and nine podium finishes.

Hayden leads the pack with 201 points followed by teammate Daniel Pedrosa on 176. World champion Valentino Rossi has 163 with five races remaining.

Since Rossi left Honda to join Yamaha at the end of the 2003 season, the team have lost their traditional dominance in the riders championship and have been trying hard to recapture their past glory.