Full Name at Birth
Nicholas Patrick Hayden
Couple Profile Source
Owensboro, Kentucky, USA
Brown - Light
Panama City, Florida
Pizza, His mom's cookin', Ice Cream
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Nicholas Patrick Hayden (July 30, 1981 â€“ May 22, 2017), nicknamed "The Kentucky Kid", was an American professional motorcycle racer who won the MotoGP World Championship in 2006. Hayden began racing motorcycles at a young age. He began his road racing career in the CMRA before progressing to the AMA Supersport Championship and then to the AMA Superbike Championship. He won the AMA title in 2002 and was approached by the Repsol Honda team to race for them in MotoGP.
Claim to Fame
Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
Place of Death
Cause of Death
Injuries Following Traffic Collision
Profile Bio Text
Nicholas Patrick Hayden (July 30, 1981 – May 22, 2017), nicknamed "The Kentucky Kid", was an American professional motorcycle racer who won the MotoGP World Championship in 2006. Hayden began racing motorcycles at a young age. He began his road racing career in the CMRA before progressing to the AMA Supersport Championship and then to the AMA Superbike Championship. He won the AMA title in 2002 and was approached by the Repsol Honda team to race for them in MotoGP.
In his first season he performed well, finishing fifth in the championship and winning the Rookie-of-the-year award. However, this was followed by a difficult second season in which he could only manage eighth overall. Hayden then rallied in the 2005 season by scoring his first Grand Prix win at Laguna Seca, and finishing third in the standings at the end of the season. The next year, 2006, would be Hayden's greatest in motorcycle racing as he won the 2006 MotoGP world title, breaking Valentino Rossi's five year consecutive streak. He remained with Honda for two more seasons without a world title, before moving to Ducati for 2009. Hayden had five largely unsuccessful seasons at Ducati, with his highest finishing championship position a seventh place in 2010. He subsequently moved to the Honda Aspar team in 2014 where raced for two seasons before returning to the Superbike World Championship.
Hayden finished fifth in his first season back in World Superbikes with the highlight of his season being a win in Malaysia. He remained in Superbikes for the 2017 season.
On May 17, 2017, Hayden was hit by a car while riding his bicycle in Italy. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and died five days later in a local hospital.
Hayden was born in Owensboro, Kentucky. He started road racing with the CMRA, often against racers many times older. Hayden would often start races from the back of the grid because a family or crew member would have to hold his bike upright as his feet would not yet touch the ground. Later, at age 17, he was racing factory Honda RC45 superbikes while still in high school. In 1999, he won the AMA Supersport championship on board a privateer Honda. In 2001, his first full season as an AMA superbike racer, he came within 40 points of winning the championship, finishing behind only champion Mat Mladin and runner-up Eric Bostrom. The 2002 season, however, would see Hayden answering the bell: he won the Daytona 200 on a Honda Superbike en route to becoming the youngest ever AMA Superbike Champion, defeating reigning triple champion Mat Mladin, among others. He also entered the World Superbike round at Laguna Seca, making a solid 4th in the first race before colliding with Noriyuki Haga in race two.
Hayden was one of a long line of American road racers to come from the American dirt-track scene. In 1999, Hayden won his first Grand National Championship race (Hagerstown Half Mile) and took Rookie of the Year honors. He was also declared the AMA's athlete of the Year. In 2000, Nicky Hayden won the Springfield Short Track. In 2002, despite racing in just a handful of dirt-track events, Hayden was able to win four races: Springfield Short Track (twice), Springfield TT, and Peoria TT . At the Springfield TT race, the three Hayden brothers took the first three places (Nicky 1st, Tommy 2nd, and Roger Lee 3rd). The win at the 2002 Peoria TT came after beating thirteen-time Peoria winner, Chris Carr, despite starting from the penalty line. Hayden only lacks a win at a mile track to join Dick Mann, Kenny Roberts Sr., Bubba Shobert, and Doug Chandler in the prestigious "Grand Slam Club."
Immediately after winning his AMA Superbike championship, Hayden was tapped to join not only Honda's MotoGP racing efforts, but what was arguably the premier team in MotoGP racing: Repsol Honda. Hayden also became teammate to the defending series champion Valentino Rossi. In his first year of MotoGP racing (2003), he finished fifth in the championship points standings while riding Honda's RC211V, an achievement that won him the Rookie-of-the-Year award. In 2004, however, Hayden had a difficult year and was widely critiqued, but he scored his first win in 2005 at Laguna Seca. In 2005, Hayden finished third in the MotoGP championship points standings behind Marco Melandri and series winner Valentino Rossi.
For 2006, Hayden was charged with spearheading Repsol Honda's championship aspirations, and was the only rider to be handed the full 2006 Honda bike during pre-season testing. He led the championship from the third race and looked set to break Valentino Rossi's championship-winning streak. In the second to last round at Estoril in Portugal, teammate Dani Pedrosa lost the front-end on the brakes (a lowside) to avoid colliding with Hayden. The resulting lowside accident took out both bikes. This left Hayden eight points behind Rossi in the championship with one race left to go. In the last race of the season on October 29, 2006 Rossi crashed on lap 5 trying to make up for a poor start. Hayden won the 2006 title that day by finishing 3rd, 9.3 seconds behind race winner Troy Bayliss. Loris Capirossi finished second.
On September 22, 2006, Hayden signed a two-year agreement that allowed for him to race for and develop with the factory Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) team for the 2007 and 2008 MotoGP seasons. He utilized the 800 cc Honda RC212V, and as title holders, his MotoGP racing number changed from 69 to 1 for the 2007 season.
2007 started and finished badly for Hayden, struggling with performance, and teammate Dani Pedrosa having shown what the Honda was able to do. A crash at Le Mans dropped him to eleventh in the standings at this stage. However, during testing before Donington, he requested that most of the electronics be switched off and his times improved. His subsequent performance in a wet Donington and a dry Assen showed a slight return to form, challenging for fifth with his trademark sliding and tail-out non-standard lines. However, he ultimately kept crashing, with a pole and 3 podiums but no victories proved to be the 2nd worse defence of a championship ever recorded after Kenny Roberts Jr. The 2007 season also saw the release of an authorized biography on Hayden and his brothers--The Haydens: Nicky, Tommy, & Roger, from OWB to MotoGP—timed to coincide with his return to the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
In 2008, Hayden ran his old number 69 since Casey Stoner earned the right to run the number 1 plate after winning the MotoGP title in 2007.
Donington Park marked the race debut of Honda's pneumatic-valve engine, which only Hayden was using initially. In the next round at Assen, Hayden ran 3rd from the start and was set to finish there until he ran out of fuel at the final corner, due to an electrical system problem which prevented accurate fuel monitoring. Colin Edwards captured Hayden's 3rd place podium moments before Hayden coasted over the line with no power, to finish 4th place. A heel injury sustained in a motocross crash put him out of two rounds. Relations within the team had already deteriorated, and there was further friction when Pedrosa switched tire suppliers midseason (from the struggling Michelin to the dominant Bridgestone) without Hayden being consulted. Hayden stated "I've never been put in the conditions to choose. Once they told me that I would have just wasted my time had I even only thought about asking for Bridgestone tires...I'm not surprised they've given them to him. Besides, at Misano I didn't even have the same fork Dani had... No way would I think they'd let me try the new tires".
This incident lent weight to the rumours that Hayden and Honda would part ways for the next season. The rumour was confirmed on September 12, 2008, when Hayden stated during a Dorna press conference, "It's no secret. Everybody knows where my next stop is going to be...But officially we're waiting to do it the right way, until the releases come out, because there's teams and stuff".
By the middle of 2008 it was strongly suspected by fans, media, and the MotoGP paddock already, and later supported by Hayden's own admission during a press conference that he would be leaving Honda, that Hayden would be joining the Ducati Marlboro Team to ride alongside Casey Stoner for the 2009 MotoGP season. This was confirmed on September 15, 2008 thus ending his ten-year relationship with Honda.
During preseason testing, Hayden was plagued with problems and routinely finished mid-pack or lower. His major complaint was that the GP09 was "pumping" during corner exits leading to problems with grip. These problems continued throughout preseason testing.
During qualifying at the season opener Qatar GP, Hayden suffered back and chest injuries in a major crash. Battered and bruised, Hayden finished 12th in the rain-delayed race just behind former teammate Pedrosa. Despite the setbacks, Hayden seemed optimistic about the results saying "I'm leaving here in a really positive mood and looking forward to Motegi."
However, only further disappointment lay in wait for Hayden at Motegi. The Ducati rider had never ridden the bike in the rain and qualified 12th. Then, during the opening lap of the race Hayden was taken out by rookie Yuki Takahashi who plowed through Hayden from the rear. As a result, Hayden did not finish the race and slipped further down the standings.
The Jerez GP saw Hayden qualify 16th and finish 15th. On August 30, 2009, Hayden finished 3rd at Indianapolis.
Hayden finished the 2009 MotoGP championship in 13th place (out of 18), his worst result in 7 years of racing MotoGP. His championship campaign was marked by remarkable misfortune, being speared off the track on three different occasions, resulting in no point scoring races. Yuki Takahashi, Alex De Angelis and Jorge Lorenzo crashed into him at Motegi, Misano and Phillip Island respectively.
On September 3, 2009, it was confirmed that Hayden had signed a one-year extension of contract with Ducati for the 2010 MotoGP season, ending speculation of a move away from the team. He will partner Casey Stoner once again at the team.
During the off-season, Hayden had surgery on his right arm, having been suffering from compartmental syndrome or more commonly known as arm-pump.
On August 28, 2010, Hayden extended his partnership with Ducati, signing a two-year contract extension with the factory team. He was joined in the team by his former Honda teammate Valentino Rossi, who also signed a two-year deal, to partner Hayden. Hayden's 2011 season started with a ninth-place finish in Qatar, before he achieved his only podium of the season with a third place at the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez. Having avoided other incidents that eliminated several front-runners from the race, Hayden was aided by a last-lap mechanical failure for Colin Edwards to take his first podium since the previous year's race in Aragon, where he also finished in third position.
Hayden then finished each of the next ten races inside the points-scoring positions – including a fastest lap during the British Grand Prix, en route to a fourth-place finish – taking top-ten finishes in all but one race, when he finished fourteenth in his home race at Indianapolis. He finished the race two laps down after making an unscheduled pit stop – having run as high as fifth during the race – after losing grip on his softer-compound Bridgestone front tire, causing a higher amount of wear to the left-hand side of the tire itself.
After crashing out at Misano, Hayden recorded three consecutive seventh-place finishes in Aragon, Japan and Australia to maintain his eighth place in the riders' championship. The Malaysian Grand Prix – in which Hayden had qualified sixth for – was cancelled after the death of Marco Simoncelli, before Hayden was eliminated, along with teammate Rossi, in a four-bike first-corner collision in Valencia. The incident left Hayden with a broken wrist, and was forced to miss post-season testing the following week. He ultimately finished the season eighth in the riders' championship.
Hayden and Rossi remained with Ducati into the 2012 season; Hayden finished each of the first ten races of the season in the points, finishing between sixth and eleventh in the races. At Indianapolis, Hayden had been expecting the best performance to date for the Ducati team, believing it to be well-suited to the track conditions at the circuit. However, Hayden did not take part in the race after suffering an accident at Turn 14 during the qualifying session, trying to improve on his qualifying time at the time. As a result, Hayden suffered a concussion in the process, ruling him out of the race. A fractured right hand also ruled him out of the following race in the Czech Republic.
Although not fully recovered from his injuries, thanks to the support of the official physiotherapist Freddie Dente, Hayden returned for the San Marino Grand Prix, where he finished in seventh position. Hayden failed to finish the Aragon Grand Prix, running wide at the final turn before crashing into a track-side wall at enough speed to launch him over the wall. He finished eighth in Japan and Australia, sandwiching a season's best fourth-place finish at the Malaysian Grand Prix. He crashed out of the final race in Valencia, finishing the season ninth in the riders' championship and for the first time in his career, without a podium finish.
For the 2013 season, Hayden was joined in the factory Ducati team by Andrea Dovizioso, who moved from the Tech 3 Yamaha squad to replace Valentino Rossi, who returned to the factory Yamaha setup. Hayden had stated that Dovizioso was the "best possible choice" to replace Rossi, prior to him signing a contract.
Return to Honda with the Aspar Team (2014–2015)
It was announced on October 17, 2013, that after five years with Ducati, Hayden had signed with the Aspar Racing Team for the 2014 season. Hayden partnered Hiroshi Aoyama, who moved from the Avintia Blusens squad, with the pair riding open-specification Honda RCV1000R motorcycles. Hayden did not race at the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello due to a wrist injury, which had lingered since the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez two races earlier. He finished 16th in the final championship standings.
For the 2015 season, Hayden remained with the Aspar Racing Team, to ride a new open-specification Honda RC213V-RS. He was joined in the team by Eugene Laverty, who moved across from the Superbike World Championship.
Return to the Superbike World Championship
On October 8, 2015, it was announced – at the pre-race press conference for the Japanese Grand Prix – that Hayden would return to the Superbike World Championship for the 2016 season. Hayden replaced Sylvain Guintoli at the Ten Kate Racing-run Honda squad, alongside Michael van der Mark.
After strong pre-season testing results, Hayden finished his first race weekend with ninth and fourth at Phillip Island. At Assen, round four, Hayden scored his first podium finish with a third place in the opening race, running with the leaders before backing off in the closing stages. At Sepang, round six, Hayden qualified fourth on the grid behind the Kawasakis of Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes, and the Yamaha of Alex Lowes. After an eighth place in the first race, Hayden made a good start in the damp conditions of the second race, and overtook Lowes into turn two, before challenging the Kawasakis for the lead. Hayden went around the outside of Sykes into turn five and followed Rea for the majority of the lap, making a strong move into the penultimate corner. Hayden established a four-second gap over Rea and the now chasing Ducatis of Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano. As the race entered the last ten laps, Giugliano moved into second ahead of Rea and Davies, halving Hayden's lead with four laps to go. Giugliano was one second behind coming onto the final lap but Hayden held the gap to win his first World Superbike race, taking Honda's first win of the season in the process.
Honda's MotoGP Super Sub
Hayden returned to MotoGP for spot starts when Honda riders were injured. After Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS star Jack Miller was ruled out for the Aragon round, Hayden was called by Honda in a substitute role, finishing 15th.
He returned at Phillip Island when Dani Pedrosa was ruled out following the Spaniard's crash at Motegi, marking his first appearance on a Repsol Honda since 2008, but only finished 17th after colliding with Jack Miller late in the race, who he had replaced in Aragon.
Hayden remained at Ten Kate Honda (now known as the Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) for the 2017 season, partnered by Stefan Bradl. A slow start to the season saw mixed results and three retirements. His best result on the season was a 7th place finish in Thailand. Hayden's final race was the second race of the Motul Italian Round held on May 14, 2017 where he finished in 12th place. He was in 13th place overall in the championship at the time of his passing.
The FIM named him a Legend in November 2015 prior to the Valencian Grand Prix.
Team(s): Repsol Honda, Ducati Corse, Drive M7 Aspar Team, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS
Motorcycle(s): Honda RC211V, Honda RC212V, Ducati Desmosedici, Honda RCV1000R, Honda RC213V-RS, Honda RC213V
First MotoGP Race: April 6, 2003 – Suzuka – Seventh Place
First MotoGP Podium: October 5, 2003 – Motegi – third Place
First MotoGP Win: July 10, 2005 – Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
Number of MotoGP Wins: 3
Number of MotoGP Podiums: 28
Highest Championship Position: First (2006)
Superbike World Championship
Team(s): American Honda, Honda World Superbike Team
Motorcycle(s): Honda RC51, Honda CBR1000RR
First Superbike Race: July 14, 2002 – Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca – Fourth Place
First Superbike Podium: April 16, 2016 – Assen – Third Place
First Superbike Win: May 15, 2016 – Sepang
Number of Superbike Wins: 1
Number of Superbike Podiums: 4
Highest Championship Position: 5th (2016)
Team(s): American Honda, HRC
Motorcycle(s): Honda RC51, Honda RC45
First Superbike Race: April 18, 1999 – Willow Springs International Raceway – Twelfth Place
First Superbike Win: June 11, 2000 – Road America
First Superbike Podium: September 19, 1999 – Pikes Peak International Raceway – Third Place
Number of Superbike Wins: 17
Number of Superbike Podiums: 30
Highest Championship Position: First (2002)
AMA 600 Supersport
Team(s): American Honda, Erion Honda, HyperCycle Suzuki
Motorcycle(s): Honda CBR600F3, Honda CBR600F4, Suzuki GSX-R600
First 600 Supersport Win: April 26, 1998 – Willow Springs International Raceway
Number of 600 Supersport Wins: 6
Highest Championship Position: First (1999)
AMA 750 Superstock
Team(s): HyperCycle Suzuki
Motorcycle(s): Suzuki GSX-R750
First 750 Supersport Win: April 19, 1998 – Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
Number of 750 Supersport Wins: 5
Highest Championship Position: Fourth (1998)
AMA Formula Extreme
Team(s): Erion Honda
Motorcycle(s): Honda CBR900RR
First Formula Extreme Win: April 17, 1998 – Willow Springs International Raceway
Number of Formula Extreme Wins: 7
Highest Championship Position: Second (1999)
Hayden had two brothers, Tommy and Roger Lee, both professional motorcycle racers, and two sisters, Jenny and Kathleen. In 2010 Tommy raced in the AMA, and Roger Lee competed in the Superbike World Championship.
His traditional racing number, 69, was the same number his father used. His father jokes that the number was selected because it could still be read when he frequently ended up upside down in the dirt.
Hayden became engaged to Jackie Marin in May 2016.
On May 17, 2017, Hayden was hit by a car while riding his bicycle near Rimini, Italy. Hayden was riding alone at the time of the accident which took place at around 14:00 CEST (UTC+2). Earlier in the morning Hayden was out jogging with Kevin Schwantz. He invited Schwantz to ride with him in the afternoon but Schwantz declined as he did not have a bicycle on hand. Hayden then rode briefly with his friend Denis Pazzaglini at some point in the early afternoon. Hayden's final Instagram photo shows the two together and confirms that Hayden was wearing a helmet.
The crash occurred at the intersection of Via Ca' Raffaelli and Via Tavoleto in Misano Adriatico. Hayden was traveling west on Via Ca' Raffaelli when he was struck by a Peugeot 207CC as he entered the street to cross Via Tavoleto. According to Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, a home surveillance camera installed several yards away from the intersection recorded the entire accident. Hayden apparently did not halt at a stop sign and was possibly distracted by his iPod which was found by investigators at the scene of the crash.
The driver of the car stated that he was on his way to work when Hayden passed through a stop sign and suddenly appeared in front of him. He was unable to avoid a collision. The speed of the driver is not yet known but the impact of Hayden slamming into the windshield was strong enough to completely shatter it and dent down the roof of the car. Hayden's bicycle was found in the nearby ditch with its frame snapped in half. Riccione Municipal Police are in possession of the crash video and the result of their investigation is expected to be reported some time in July.
Hayden was taken to Rimini hospital with severe injuries, and was subsequently moved to the major trauma unit at the Maurizio Bufalini Hospital in Cesena for possible surgery. Hayden's injuries were so severe that he was not placed into a medically-induced coma and did not receive any surgery. Whether Hayden was at all conscious or in a natural coma during his last days is not known.
The extent of Hayden's injuries was described as polytrauma including a traumatic brain injury that resulted in severe cerebral damage. He also suffered a broken femur, broken pelvis, and multiple fractured vertebrae. As a result of the injuries, Hayden was placed on life support in an intensive care unit. After no signs of recovery, Hayden died in the hospital on May 22, 2017, five days after the accident. He was 35 years old.
www.motogp.com/en/riders/Nicky+Hayden, www.facebook.com/NickyHaydenUSA/, www.instagram.com/nicky_hayden/?hl=en