THE EARLY DAYS
Nicky Hayden’s racing career began at the early age of five as he followed his parents’ footsteps into the world of flat-track racing. After winning numerous titles at regional and national level, in the early ’90s Nicky began his transition to road racing, first with minibikes and then by joining the AMA series at the age of 16.
In only five years of racing at national level, Hayden managed to clinch both the AMA Supersport (1999) and the AMA Superbike (2002) titles aboard Honda machinery. This considerable amount of success achieved in very little time allowed Hayden to fulfil his life-long dream to enter the MotoGP World Championship in 2003.
THE MOTOGP DAYS
The same year the ‘Kentucky Kid’ scored his first podium finish at Motegi, Japan, although he had to wait two more years to step atop the podium; as MotoGP returned to Laguna Seca for the first time since 1994, Hayden stormed to pole position before claiming a dominant win in front of his home crowd.
His maiden win in the series and the third place in the overall standings were the prelude to what was next to come – his 2006 title-winning campaign. Ten podium finishes, including two wins, allowed the American to achieve his dream of becoming World Champion, with the title being clinched by Hayden only after a thrilling season finale in Valencia, Spain.
With two more seasons under his belt with Honda, in 2009 Hayden opted to join Ducati, before returning five years later with the Japanese manufacturer to race an Open machine for the Aspar Team.
THE ARRIVAL TO WORLDSBK
In the final stages of the 2015 season, Nicky announced his move to the FIM Superbike World Championship with Honda; this is Hayden’s first return to the production-based World Championship since 2002, when he debuted as a wildcard entry at Laguna Seca onboard Team American Honda’s RC51.
“Motorcycle racing is not just a job and that’s what keeps me hungry. At the end of my MotoGP career, after thirteen years I obviously had to ask myself if it was time to go home and let it go, throw in the towel, but I really kept coming back to the same conclusion that I want to keep racing. I’m 34 years old now but I still feel like I can compete at a high level. So you know what, I’m going to keep riding until they kick me out.”
And what a return it’s been so far: In what was the fourth round of his rookie season, Hayden managed to get already his maiden podium finish, a third place in the team’s home round at Assen in the Netherlands. But it was Sepang, another very well-known track, to witness the return of the ‘Kentucky Kid’ to the top step of the podium, at the end of a masterful display of race craft in the wet of race two in Malaysia. With two more podium finishes at his home round in Laguna Seca and at Germany’s Lausitzring racetrack, Hayden finished his maiden WorldSBK season in sixth place.
Date of birth 30th July 1981
Birthplace Owensboro, Kentucky, United States of America
Bike Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2
Race number #69
First MotoGP Race 2003 – Suzuka, Japan
MotoGP races 216
First MotoGP podium 2003 - Motegi, Japan
Total MotoGP podiums 28
First MotoGP win 2005 – Laguna Seca, United States of America
Total MotoGP wins 3
First WorldSBK Race 2002 – Laguna Seca, United States of America (wildcard)
Total WorldSBK races 28
First WorldSBK podium 2016 – Assen, The Netherlands (Race 1)
Total WorldSBK podiums 4
First WorldSBK Win 2016 – Sepang, Malaysia (Race 2)
Total WorldSBK wins 1
1999 CHAMPION AMA Supersport - Honda
2000 2nd AMA Superbike – Honda
2001 3rd AMA Superbike - Honda
2002 CHAMPION AMA Superbike - Honda
2003 5th MotoGP World Championship – Honda
2004 8th MotoGP World Championship - Honda
2005 3rd MotoGP World Championship - Honda
2006 CHAMPION MotoGP World Championship - Honda
2007 8th MotoGP World Championship – Honda
2008 6th MotoGP World Championship – Honda
2009 13th MotoGP World Championship – Ducati
2010 7th MotoGP World Championship - Ducati
2011 8th MotoGP World Championship – Ducati
2012 9th MotoGP World Championship – Ducati
2013 9th MotoGP World Championship – Ducati
2014 16th MotoGP World Championship – Aprilia
2015 20th MotoGP World Championship – Aspar Honda
2016 6th FIM Superbike World Championship