It was only appropriate that American hero Nicky Hayden's Ducati GP9 racebike was decked out in a special stars-and-bars paint scheme for the eighth round of this year's MotoGP championship. It was, after all, the first race of the year on American soil, held at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. More importantly, it took place over the Fourth of July holiday weekend-a patriotic coincidence too powerful for even the proudest Italian manufacturer to ignore.
To make the most of the occasion, Ducati revealed a similarly finished Nicky Hayden-edition 2010 848 Superbike during a special ceremony at its Ducati Island fan zone. Featuring exclusive red, white and blue graphics inspired by the racebike, complete with Hayden's race number on the fairing upper and his autograph on top of the fuel tank, this special 848 also debuted some new-for-2010 upgrades including brighter LED instrument lights, 30mm mirror extensions to improve rearward visibility and aluminum cam belt tensioner pulleys.
The special graphics gave Hayden a bit of a boost on-track, propelling him like a bottle rocket to fifth place-his best finish so far in what can only be described as a star-crossed season. Independence Day graphics appear to have a similar motivating effect on Ducati sales as well-the company announced shortly after the event that all 150 copies of the $14,495 Hayden-edition 848 were sold-out at the wholesale level. If you want one, you better talk to your dealer fast.