Nicky Hayden at AMG event at LA Auto Show

It's a good time to jump on the Ducati MotoGP bandwagon. Sure, the Italian motorcycle manufacturer always fields a highly competitive juggernaut of a racing team, despite being a small fraction of the size of its chief rivals. But, with the recent signing of fan-favorite and nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi, it would seem that the focus will never be more, um, focused on the bright red racers.

Plus, let's not forget about Nicky Hayden, who carries around his own fair share of fans, particularly in the United States, which is surely a crucial market for both Ducati and Mercedes-Benz. As such, it's not exactly shocking to hear that the German automaker, and more specifically its AMG performance division, has tossed its support and most assuredly a few bucket-loads of cash in the direction of the Bologna-based Ducati MotoGP team.

At this point, it's too early to know how far the partnership will extend, but the automaker brought along the previously mentioned Kentucky Kid to the 2010 LA Auto Show to announce that it has entered into a marketing partnership with Ducati and will provide support along with serving as the brand's Official Car Partner starting with the 2011 race season. As such, AMG machines will be available for test drives at selected Ducati events and vice versa.

[Source: Mercedes-Benz | Image: TwitPic]