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Oct 17, 2013

Nicky Hayden To Ride Production Honda MotoGP Bike For Power Electronics Aspar Team In 2014

FIM MotoGP World Championship: Jorge Martinez "Asapr" (right) with HRC Executive Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto (left). Photo courtesy of Team Aspar.
Spanish team to enter MotoGP World Championship next season with Honda's 'MotoGP Production Racer' and former World Champion Nicky Hayden on board

Ever since the dawn of the CRT era in MotoGP the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar Team has been a leading light and a point of reference in the new category. After dominating last year the 2013 season has followed much the same path and with three races remaining the CRT 'title' is within touching distance. With the regulations set to change again for 2014 and the CRTs due to give way to a new breed of production racers designed to bring the grid even closer together, the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar Team is keen to move with the times and can now confirm a new alliance with Honda. The team will run the Japanese factory's new 'MotoGP Production Racer' in 2014, with former World Champion Nicky Hayden as its main rider.

The new machine, which is based on the Honda RC213V prototype, has already been tested in Japan by the Hamamatsu factory test riders and is showing a competitive level of performance. The team will take delivery in time for the official MotoGP post-season test at Valencia in November, marking a return to the factory that the team first started with in 1992. It also marks a return of sorts for Hayden, who won the MotoGP World Championship with Honda back in 2006. The objective for the team run by Jorge Martínez ‘Aspar’ is clear: to continue being a point of reference in the premier class of motorcycle racing.

Jorge Martínez ‘Aspar’: “It is great news for the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar Team to have the acquired services of Honda and a rider of the profile of Nicky Hayden. We are taking a huge step forward in terms of quality, prestige and image. We have grown a lot in a short space of time and we are all very excited about this new project with Honda. It is the factory that the ASPAR Team first started with back in 1992 and I have great memories of that period. Our objective is to continue being a reference point in the premier-class. I think the combination of Honda's MotoGP Production Racer and Nicky Hayden is going to be a very successful one. We are thrilled to be working with a manufacturer with the history that Honda has and a rider like Nicky, a World Champion with huge experience. It will be a big change for us after so many years working with Italian factories but we have high hopes for this new project. We are up for the challenge and we will give maximum effort to making sure the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar Team continues achieving top results.”




More, from a press release issued by Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

POPULAR AMERICAN HAYDEN TO STAY IN MotoGP WITH ASPAR, HONDA

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013 - 2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden will stay in the premier class for at least two more years after signing a deal to ride a Honda for the Aspar Team in 2014 and 2015.

Hayden, from Owensboro, Ky., will ride a Honda RC1000R for Aspar, a Spanish privateer team run by former 125cc World Champion Jorge "Aspar" Martinez.

The bike is a "customer" version of Honda's RC213V prototype and is believed to be only a small step down in specification from Honda's factory machine, upon which rookie and 2013 Red Bull Indianapolis GP winner Marc Marquez is leading the World Championship this season. Retired World Champion Casey Stoner is testing the bike for Honda this year, and he recently said the machine's performance exceeded his expectations.

The move to Aspar ends a frustrating five-year stint as a Ducati factory rider and signals a return to Honda for Hayden, 32. He raced for the Repsol Honda factory team for the first six seasons of his MotoGP career, from 2003-08, and won the world title with Honda in 2006. He has earned all three of his career MotoGP victories on a Honda.

"It is great news for the Power Electronics Aspar Team to have the acquired services of Honda and a rider of the profile of Nicky Hayden," Martinez said. "We are taking a huge step forward in terms of quality, prestige and image. We have grown a lot in a short space of time, and we are all very excited about this new project with Honda. It is the factory that the Aspar Team first started with back in 1992, and I have great memories of that period. Our objective is to continue being a reference point in the premier class.

"I think the combination of Honda's MotoGP production racer and Nicky Hayden is going to be a very successful one. We are thrilled to be working with a manufacturer with the history that Honda has and a rider like Nicky, a World Champion with huge experience."

The signing ended a tense week for Hayden, one of the most popular riders in the sport. He was in final negotiations earlier this month to sign with Aspar to ride an Aprilia "customer" bike, but that deal disintegrated when Aprilia Racing boss Gigi Dall'Igna announced last week he was leaving the manufacturer to become the leader of Italian rival Ducati Racing starting in mid-November.

Aspar owner Martinez was reluctant to continue with Aprilia after the departure of the well-regarded Dall'Igna. The Aspar team considered leasing a customer Ducati next season, as Dall'Igna and Martinez are longtime friends and Aspar was a Ducati satellite team in the past. But running a Ducati may have forced Hayden to look elsewhere, as he was winless and scored just three podium finishes in five years with the Italian manufacturer.

So Martinez decided to run the Honda RC1000R, which also kept Hayden - who has strong ties to Honda's racing arm and American Honda - committed to the Aspar team.

"It will be a big change for us after so many years working with Italian factories, but we have high hopes for this new project," Martinez said. "We are up for the challenge, and we will give maximum effort to making sure the Power Electronics Aspar Team continues achieving top results."

Hayden's teammate in the two-bike team was not announced. Former 250cc World Champion Hiroshi Aoyama of Japan has been mentioned as a primary candidate due to his longtime ties with Honda.
The seventh Red Bull Indianapolis GP is scheduled for Aug. 8-10, 2014 on a revised motorcycle circuit at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that will create even more exciting action. Hayden finished second at the inaugural event in 2008 on a Honda and third in 2009 on a Ducati.

2014 tickets: Tickets for the 2014 Red Bull Indianapolis GP will go on sale Monday, Nov. 4 by visiting www.ims.com/tickets, calling 800-822-INDY or 317-492-6700 or visiting the IMS Ticket Office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday.

Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are available. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at 866-221-8775 for more information.

Information on camping at IMS during the Red Bull Indianapolis GP is available at www.ims.com/tickets. Hotel package information can be found at visitindy.com/redbullhotels.