In the world of motorcycle racing, the number 69 is synonymous with one person: Nicky Hayden. “The Kentucky Kid” left an indelible mark on this sport, punctuated by his 2006 MotoGP championship, which earned him MotoGP “Legend” status upon his departure to World Superbike at the end of 2015. As a tribute to the late, great champion, Dorna will retire the number 69 from premier Grand Prix racing at the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin, Texas, ensuring the number and the man will forever be linked.
Circa-1974. MotoGP bikes racing flat out around a newly constructed Mugello track, while just over the hills in Florence, Italy, a young George Lundeen studies sculpture at the Accademia di Belle Arti. Every bit the struggling artist, he insists that even if GP tickets were 1,000 lire (about 50 cents), he wouldn’t have been able to afford a day at the races with the fastest boys on two wheels.
In Owensboro, Kentucky, the Hayden family are considered royalty, and its shining star was Nicky Hayden. The town, and the world at large, was devastated by Nicky’s passing a year ago, and in his honor the city of Owensboro will unveil a sculpture dedicated to him. The unveiling will take place June 8, at 5:30pm and will be led by Mayor Tom Watson. There, Watson will also declare June 9th as Nicky Hayden Day, in honor of The Kentucky Kid’s racing number 69.
Plans for a garden to commemorate Nicky Hayden have been approved by Misano officials, as was reported by Italian news source Rimini Today. The garden will be paid for by a group of Hayden’s friends, including Denis Pazzaglini, who became friends with the 2006 MotoGP champion during their time together at Repsol Honda.
Racing fans the world over were gutted today after hearing the news that Nicky Hayden, the 2006 MotoGP world champion, has succumbed to injuries suffered in a bicycle accident last week. Hayden, a.k.a. the Kentucky Kid, was one of the roadracing fraternity’s favorite sons, known globally as a terrific ambassador for the sport and one of the racing world’s nicest and most determined competitors.
Honda Racing TV’s last episode of 2016 stars reigning MotoGP champ Marc Marquez and reigning MXGP champ Tim Gajser, with a visit from Nicky Hayden at the 9:56 mark (in case you want to jump ahead). Marquez and Gajser introduce a review of their MotoGP and MXGP seasons. Nicky Hayden is visited in an installment of A Life Behind the Bars with the Kentucky Kid, and there’s also a recap of Honda’s new models at the EICMA Motorcycle Show.
Any parent will tell you watching their children succeed brings a sense of pride that can’t be matched. But when your child is a world champion like Nicky Hayden, that sense of pride goes beyond winning a tee-ball game. Of course, succeeding at the highest level requires talent, dedication and discipline to achieve. And while you can’t teach talent, the other two traits are within the means of parents to instill in their children.
Sunday’s Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix was about what one would expect from a great track after the championship had been decided. Anointed champion Marc Marquez, on the factory Honda, having given a clinic on Saturday to take pole, obliterated the field early, apparently on his way to an easy win. Until Lap 10, when he apparently lost focus, pushing harder than necessary, folded the front in Turn 4 and handed the win to the ascendant Cal Crutchlow.
Just as we suspected, Honda today unveiled its much anticipated 2017 CBR1000RR at Intermot in Germany. We first reported on the new CBR last month as spy photos started to come out, but Honda still had a few surprises in store with this announcement. Two, actually. First, Honda decided to release its up-spec model, the CBR1000RR SP, ahead of the standard edition (Honda says to expect an announcement on that one come November). And second, there would be a second, limited-edition model, the CBR1000RR SP2, homologated strictly for racing purposes (more on that later).
Former World Champion Nicky Hayden is returning to MotoGP for at least one more race, riding for the injured Jack Miller for the Team Estrella Galicia Marc VDS team at this weekend’s race at Aragon. Hayden last raced in MotoGP last season before moving over to the Ten Kate Honda World Superbike team this year. His return, at least for the upcoming round, returns a much-missed American presence to the MotoGP grid.
Ride along with the 2006 MotoGP World Champion and Honda World Superbike rider Nicky Hayden as he hosts the fifth installment of Honda Racing TV. Join Hayden at his Owensboro ranch and spin some laps on the family’s backyard flat track, while discussing his racing roots. Travel to the Goodwood Festival of Speed, listen to an in-depth interview with TT legendJohn McGuinness, and travel back in time through the history of Honda motocross bikes. Stay tuned for new episodes at HondaProRacing.com/tv, or subscribe to youtube.com/hondaproracing.
Nicky Hayden is a busy guy. As if the rigors of competing full-time in World Superbike on board a Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR wasn’t enough, the less glamorous portion of his job includes all his sponsor obligations and chatting with media hacks like Yours Truly. But there’s a reason why The Kentucky Kid is such a well-loved figure in racing paddocks worldwide – he always gives whatever time he has to those secondary obligations, and he does it with a smile. Motojournalists like the guy because he’ll always give you honest answers to the best of his ability and not canned one-liners other racers sometimes snort out reluctantly, as if talking to the media is beneath them.
We’ve dedicated a couple stories this week to Nicky Hayden, The Kentucky Kid and his World Superbike-spec Honda CBR1000RR competing this weekend at Laguna Seca. From Tom’s Top 10 reasons to visit Laguna Seca this weekend to this poll on Nicky’s chances this weekend, you’ll forgive us if we’re pouring out some love for the 2006 MotoGP champion. So for this weekend’s Church feature we’re keeping the love pouring, with this interview with Hayden shortly after he announced he was moving to the Ducati MotoGP squad. History will tell us that the move ultimately didn’t bear the fruit Hayden was hoping for, but ever the professional, he’s always been optimistic about his chances.