Nicky Hayden, the 2006 MotoGP
World Champion, passed away at the age of 35 following an accident. A member of
the Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team rider Nicky Hayden was involved in an
accident in which he had a collision with an automobile while riding his
bicycle on May 17, near Rimini, Italy where he was staying after completing the
Round 5 of the FIM World Superbike Championship, the Italian Grand Prix on May
Nicky was taken to a nearby
hospital for immediate treatment. Once his condition was stabilized, he was
transferred to Maurizio Bufalini Hospital in Cesena, but despite the exhaustive
efforts at the hospital’s intensive care unit, he passed away at the age of 35
at 7:09 pm local time on May 22.
According to a Red Bull press
release, Hayden was born into a motorcycle racing family in Owensboro,
Kentucky, USA in July 1981, and started riding dirt track at an early age. It
didn’t take long before Nicky was picking up awards and titles, and in 1999 he
won the AMA Supersport Championship, and was named both the AMA Pro Athlete and
Flat Track Rookie of the Year.
Three years later, 2002 was
another memorable year for Nicky and the Hayden family as he topped an
all-Hayden podium at the Springfield TT, with brothers Tommy and Roger. Nicky
was also crowned the AMA Superbike champion, sealing a move to MotoGP the
His debut campaign in 2003 was
another career milestone, as Nicky was awarded the Rookie of the Year. In 2005,
he won his first Grand Prix in front of a home crowd at Laguna Seca, and in
2006 Nicky beat Valentino Rossi to the MotoGP title in a thrilling campaign
that went right down to the final race of the year in Valencia.
After thirteen seasons in
MotoGP, and having ridden for both Honda and Ducati, Nicky made the switch to
World Superbikes in 2016, winning in Malaysia on his way to a top-five
Nicky Hayden had even turned
movie stuntman, thrilling cinema goers with a jaw-dropping ride across the roof
of the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey, with Robbie Maddison giving chase in
the James Bond film Skyfall.
Nicky’s popularity and the
respect which his fellow racers held for him was evident throughout his career,
and messages of support and hope for the ‘Kentucky Kid’ flooded social media as
news of his accident broke.
Rossi, who Hayden went head to
head with to win the 2006 MotoGP title, wrote on his Instagram account: “Nicky
is one of the best friends I’ve ever had in the paddock”, and that Nicky’s
character and personality were a highlight everywhere he went.
Meanwhile, Honda said in a
statement that it is “deeply saddened by the loss of Nicky Hayden, a beloved
member of the Honda racing family, and would like to express its sincere
appreciation for Nicky and deepest condolences to his family, friends and fans”.
In a condolence message Takahiro
Hachigo, President, CEO and Representative Director of Honda Motor Co.,
Ltd.said, “I am shocked and deeply saddened by the news of Nicky Hayden passing
away. Nicky was a successful road racing rider from early in his life, and has
contributed greatly to Honda’s motorcycle racing activities, with achievements
such as winning the MotoGP title as a Honda factory rider in 2006. His
aggressive riding style and cheerful and magnetic personality was an
inspiration to many fans. Honda appreciates Nicky’s immeasurable contribution
as a Honda rider, and expresses its deepest condolences to Nicky’s family and
Source: Red Bull Content Pool / Honda