• Tech 3’s Dovizioso signs two-year contract
• Rossi to return to Yamaha next season
Ducati have signed Andrea Dovizioso on a two-year contract to replace his fellow Italian rider Valentino Rossi. Yamaha Tech 3’s Dovizioso, 26, will join Nicky Hayden at Ducati until 2014 after the seven-times MotoGP world champion Rossi opted to switch back to Yamaha next season.
As preparations begin for this Sunday’s Czech Republic Grand Prix, Ducati also revealed Hayden will remain off-track after the American injured his right hand during a qualifying crash at Indianapolis last weekend. Hayden will not be replaced for the race, meaning Ducati’s only representative will be Rossi.
“It’s tough to miss another race. I don’t have big problems, but my hand is still very swollen and I don’t have much strength, and of course right-hand injuries are worse for motorcycle racers,” Hayden said in a statement.
It is expected Hayden will return to action at the San Marino Grand Prix in Misano on 16 September.
The Spanish rider Jorge Lorenzo leads the MotoGP championship by 18 points ahead of countryman Dani Pedrosa and Australian Casey Stoner, who retires at the end of the year.