In this paper the contact mechanism between stator and rotor will be considered in detail, which plays a key role in ultrasonic motors. A planar contact model for the stator-rotor interaction in traveling-wave type ultrasonic motors is derived, including rotor flexibility and differenciating between stick and slip regions in the contact zones. The model analysis shows that depending on the motor’s operating conditions, complicated contact behavior may occur with several stick-slip subzones in each contact zone. The typical nonlinear resonance observed in ultrasonic motors can be explained with the present analysis. Both the stiffness of the contact layer and of the rotor may drastically influence the speed-torque characteristics. The results will contribute to a better understanding of the contact mechanics in ultrasonic motors.