Nicky Hayden’s exit from the factory Ducati MotoGP team leaves series owners Dorna will a big problem. They have no native star for their American audience.
No disrespect to Colin Edwards or Ben Spies, but Hayden as a former world champion will have put bums on seats at Laguna Seca, Indianapolis and Austin. Of course Rossi will do his part but with no real, bone fide going-fast American, what will draw Americans to MotoGP now?
There is huge doubt over Indianapolis, which is a relative geographical stone’s throw from Hayden’s native Kentucky, as they can’t get the crowds to cover the enormous cost of running a race at such a venue. To give its size some context, it has an 18-hole golf course inside the gates.
Although talented, Spies has never lived up to his potential due to various circumstances and Edwards, much as he is a great character, is past his best in MotoGP terms.
America, like Australia, is suffering from a lack of up and coming kids to step into MotoGP. Sure, there are some in the Red Bull Rookies but nothing available right now, which leaves MotoGP boss Carmelo Ezpeleta with a big problem.
Can he sell a minimum of two races next year using Valentino Rossi alone?