Former MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden has died.
Earlier today, the Maurizio Bufalini Hospital in Cesena, Italy, issued the following statement, which was translated from Italian into English:
“The medical college has confirmed the death of the patient Nicholas Patrick Hayden, recovering from Wednesday May 17 in a hospital intensive care unit of Cesena Bufalini as a result of serious multiple injuries occurred on that date.”
The Associated Press’ version of the statement’s translation reads:
“The medical team has verified the death of the patient Nicholas Patrick Hayden, who has been undergoing care since last Wednesday May 17 in the intensive care unit of the Bufalini Hospital in Cesena following a very serious polytrauma which occurred the same day,”
Hayden, 35, was struck by a car while riding his bicycle May 17 on public roads in the Rimini province of Italy. He was transported to a local hospital and later transferred to the Maurizio Bufalini Hospital trauma center in Cesena.
More, from a press release issued by Dorna WSBK Press Office:
Statement – Nicky Hayden
Following a cycling incident close to Rimini on Wednesday 17th May, it is with great sadness that we report the passing of Nicky Hayden (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team).
Hayden was involved in a collision with a car whilst out training and was taken directly to a local hospital by ambulance. Following immediate treatment, the American was then taken to Maurizio Bufalini Hospital in Cesena for further treatment and possible surgery, where he spent the night with fiancée and team members beside him.
Every effort was undergone in order to provide Hayden with the best possible care, but on Monday 22nd May it was announced he had succumbed to his injuries.
2006 MotoGP™ World Champion, Nicky burst onto the world scene in 2003 just one year after he was crowned AMA Superbike Champion. Securing two podiums in his opening season, he took his debut victory in 2005 at Laguna Seca and sensationally reached his dream in 2006 as he was crowned MotoGP™ World Champion. Making the move over to the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship in 2016, Nicky stood on the podium four times for Honda, one of which was his debut victory at Sepang International Circuit.
The FIM and Dorna WSBK Organization wish to pass on its condolences to the family, friends and team of Nicky Hayden.
More, from a press release issued by Dorna MotoGP Press Office:
Bidding farewell to a true Champion, on and off track
MotoGP™ Legend Nicky Hayden sadly passed away on Monday evening, after the American was involved in a collision with a car whilst cycling on the Riviera di Rimini last week. Hayden had been rushed to a local hospital before being transferred to Bufalini Hospital in Cesena, later succumbing to the injuries he sustained. He was 35 years old.
A true Champion on and off track, Hayden will be deeply missed.
MotoGP™ Legend, 2006 World Champion, WorldSBK race winner, fiancé, uncle, brother, son, friend or simply the “Kentucky Kid” who rose from American dirt track to the absolute pinnacle of his sport, Hayden was known for many things to many people, and put his name to an astounding number achievements both within racing and beyond its limits – key amongst which was his moniker as ‘the nicest man in Grand Prix racing’. A true competitor with an incredible commitment to his sport, and a true family man dedicated to the people around him.
Hayden will be deeply missed by the paddocks he has graced throughout an incredible career, his millions of fans around the world, and by all those closest to him. We wish to pass on our sincerest condolences to his family, friends, team and colleagues as we sadly bid farewell to the “Kentucky Kid” far too soon – a true legend of the sport, and to all those who knew him.
More, from a press release issued by Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team:
Statement from Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
22 May 2017
It is with great sadness that Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team has to announce that Nicky Hayden has succumbed to injuries suffered during an incident while riding his bicycle last Wednesday.
Nicky passed away at 19:09 CEST this evening at Maurizio Bufalini Hospital in Cesena, Italy. His fiancée Jackie, mother Rose and brother Tommy were at his side.
Throughout his career Nicky’s professionalism and fighting spirit was greatly valued and carried him to numerous successes, including his childhood dream of being crowned MotoGP World Champion with Honda in 2006. As well as being a true champion on the track, Nicky was a fan favourite off it due to his kind nature, relaxed demeanour, and the huge smile he invariably carried everywhere.
Nothing says more about Nicky’s character than the overwhelming response expressed by fellow racers and his legions of fans over the past few days. Jackie and his family are truly grateful for the countless prayers and well wishes for Nicky.
The ‘Kentucky Kid’ will be sorely missed by all that ever had the pleasure of meeting him or the privilege to see him race a motorcycle around a track, be it dirt or asphalt.
The racing world says goodbye to one of its dearest sons. Rest in peace Nicholas ‘Nicky’ Patrick Hayden.
“On behalf of the whole Hayden family and Nicky’s fiancée Jackie I would like to thank everyone for their messages of support – it has been a great comfort to us all knowing that Nicky has touched so many people’s lives in such a positive way.
“Although this is obviously a sad time, we would like everyone to remember Nicky at his happiest – riding a motorcycle. He dreamed as a kid of being a pro rider and not only achieved that but also managed to reach the pinnacle of his chosen sport in becoming World Champion. We are all so proud of that.
“Apart from these ‘public’ memories, we will also have many great and happy memories of Nicky at home in Kentucky, in the heart of the family. We will all miss him terribly.
“It is also important for us to thank all the hospital staff for their incredible support – they have been very kind. With the further support of the authorities in the coming days we hope to have Nicky home soon.”
More, from a press release issued by Indianapolis Motor Speedway:
Hayden Remembered as Fan Favorite, Talented World Champion at IMS
INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, May 22, 2017 – 2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden never won a race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but “The Kentucky Kid” still was one of the most popular, talented and respected racers on two or four wheels to compete at the Racing Capital in the World in the last decade.
Hayden, from Owensboro, Kentucky, passed away May 22 from injuries suffered when he was struck by a car while cycling May 17 in Rimini, Italy, where he was preparing for the next round of the World Superbike Championship. He was 35.
“Everyone at IMS mourns the loss of our friend Nicky Hayden,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “When you met Nicky, you immediately felt you had known him for years. His humility and sincerity always made genuine connections with everyone, as he truly was one of the nicest guys you could ever meet in racing. Nicky was a tireless ambassador for MotoGP at the Speedway and a passionate supporter of all events at IMS.
“When MotoGP first came to IMS in 2008, we soon learned family and his beloved Owensboro meant everything to Nicky. We offer our thoughts, prayers and condolences to his parents, Rose and Earl; his fiancée, Jackie; his brothers, Tommy and Roger; his sisters, Jenny and Kathleen; and to all his friends, teammates and legions of fans around the world. He will always be remembered fondly at IMS.”
Hayden raced in six of the eight Red Bull Indianapolis GP events at IMS from 2008-15, competing for Repsol Honda, Ducati and the Aspar Racing Team. He finished on the podium in his first two starts at IMS, placing second in 2008 with Repsol Honda and third in 2009 with Ducati. He missed the 2012 race due to a broken hand suffered in a crash during qualifying and the 2014 race due to a wrist injury.
“The Kentucky Kid” was arguably the most popular rider during MotoGP’s eight-year run at IMS, rivaled only by his good friend and seven-time MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi. Hayden’s trademark No. 69 was seen on hats, T-shirts and banners everywhere at IMS, and big crowds flocked to fan forums in the infield to hear his self-effacing, funny answers to questions in his inimitable Kentucky twang.
Hayden also worked eagerly and often to promote the Red Bull Indianapolis GP, visiting the track and meeting media and racers from IndyCar and NASCAR during the Indianapolis 500, Brickyard 400 and other events.
In 2008, Hayden was the centerpiece of two of the most memorable promotional activities in recent IMS history. He eagerly donned a period-specific leather cap, goggles, IMS sweater, knickers and riding boots to turn the first laps on the newly paved IMS motorcycle road course on an Indian motorcycle that competed in the first motorized race at the Speedway, in 1909. A month later, he rode a long, smoky burnout down the front straightaway and across the Yard of Bricks on his high-revving Repsol Honda, carrying an American flag, during pre-race ceremonies for the Indianapolis 500.
More, from a press release issued by American Flat Track/AMA Pro Racing/Daytona Motorsports Group:
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 22, 2017) – The American Flat Track community is left in mourning following the tragic passing of American motorcycle racing legend Nicky Hayden and sends heartfelt condolences to the Hayden family.
Nicky’s breakout year came in 1999, when he took home his first victory in the Grand National Championship at the Hagerstown Half-Mile and was bestowed American Flat Track Rookie of the Year honors. That same year, as a privateer, he won the AMA Supersport championship and was subsequently named the AMA’s Athlete of the Year.
Over the next three seasons, Nicky perfected his craft on American dirt tracks and road courses, grabbing five more GNC victories and winning the DAYTONA 200 en route to capturing the 2002 AMA Superbike championship. In 2003, after dominating the American motorcycle racing scene, Honda tapped the rising star to join the elite Repsol Honda team in MotoGP. At 22 years old, the Kentucky Kid was introduced to the world, and his warm personality, smooth style and Southern charm quickly resonated with fans across the globe.
Four short years later, Nicky’s dreams were realized when the American prodigy captured the Grand Prix World Championship in dramatic fashion, cementing his legacy as the best American motorcycle racer of his generation.
About American Flat Track:
American Flat Track is the world’s premier dirt track motorcycle racing series and one of the longest-running championships in the history of motorsports. Sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing in Daytona Beach, Fla., the series is highly regarded as the most competitive form of dirt track motorcycle racing on the globe. For more information on American Flat Track, please visit http://www.americanflattrack.com, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, live stream the events at FansChoice.tv and catch all the American Flat Track racing action on NBCSN.
More, from a press release issued by American Motorcyclist Association (AMA):
American Motorcyclist Association saddened by news of former MotoGP world champion Nicky Hayden’s passing
Condolences offered to Hayden’s fiancé, family, friends
PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The American Motorcyclist Association extends its deepest sympathies to the fiancé, family and friends of MotoGP world champion Nicky Hayden, who died today in a hospital in Italy.
Hayden, 35, was injured May 17 when he was struck by a car while riding a bicycle during a training exercise along Italy’s Rimini coast. He had competed in the Superbike World Championship races at Imola the previous weekend.
“The loss of Nicky Hayden will be felt across the racing world, on the track and off,” said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Hayden family during this difficult time.”
Hayden won the 2006 MotoGP title over Valentino Rossi. Hayden switched to World Superbikes in 2016 and was 13th in the 2017 standings, riding for Red Bull Honda.
About the American Motorcyclist Association
Founded in 1924, the AMA is a not-for-profit member-based association whose mission is to promote the motorcycle lifestyle and protect the future of motorcycling. As the world’s largest motorcycling rights and event sanctioning organization, the AMA advocates for riders’ interests at all levels of government and sanctions thousands of competition and recreational events every year. The AMA also provides money-saving discounts on products and services for its members. Through the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Pickerington, Ohio, the AMA honors the heroes and heritage of motorcycling. For more information, visit www.americanmotorcyclist.com.
Not a member? Join the AMA today: www.americanmotorcyclist.com/membership/join
More, from a press release issued by Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca:
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Mourns Death of Two-Wheel Champion Nicky Hayden
2006 MotoGP champion dies from injuries sustained in training accident
MONTEREY, Calif., May 22, 2017 — 2006 MotoGP champion and Motul FIM Superbike World Championship competitor Nicky Hayden died on Monday, May 22, due to injuries resulting from a road accident with a car when he was training on his bicycle on the Rimini coastline in Italy near the Misano circuit five days earlier. He was 35 years old.
“The Kentucky Kid” was known for his talent on the race track and a distinct and likable persona that endeared him to fans and fellow racers. His ever-present smile and willingness to interact in person and online cemented him as a fan favorite.
Hayden excelled at two-wheel racing in all forms, competing in AMA Pro Flat Track racing before becoming a dominant road course competitor. He famously edged Valentino Rossi for the 2006 MotoGP world championship, breaking Rossi’s five-year reign on the title. He switched to Motul FIM Superbike World Championship in 2016, taking his most recent win in Malaysia that season and remaining an active competitor for the Red Bull Honda World Superbike team until the time of his accident.
Hayden had a special relationship with Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The 11-turn, 2.238-mile circuit was the only U.S. stop in the international MotoGP series during the height of the American rider’s career. He achieved superstar status by scoring his first career MotoGP win when the track hosted the 2005 Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix and repeating the feat during his championship season in 2006.
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca has been the site of additional milestones in the career of Hayden and brothers Roger and Tommy, who are also professional riders. At 16 years old, Hayden scored his first AMA 750 Supersport win there in 1998. When Hayden switched to the World Superbike Challenge in 2016, fans clamored to see their hero return to the Monterey Peninsula at the 2016 Motul FIM World Superbike Championship GEICO U.S. Round. Unfortunately, another homecoming celebration at this year’s event on July 7-9 was cut short by the tragic accident.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Nicky Hayden,” said Gill Campbell, CEO and general manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. “He was an outstanding racer and, more than that, an incredible human being. The memories he created on the track are unforgettable, and he had such a special connection to his fans. Nicky was more than a rider. He was a friend. Words just don’t describe the loss. My heart goes out to his family, friends, and fans.”
Everyone at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP) joins the racing community in extending their sympathies to Hayden’s fiancé Jackie Marin, parents Earl and Rose, siblings Tommy, Jenny, Nicky, Roger, and Kathleen, and to his extended family, friends, and fans.
About Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is a world-renowned 2.238-mile traditional road course that was built in 1957, then known as Laguna Seca Raceway, by the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP). SCRAMP is a non-profit 501(c)(4) corporation with the purpose of managing the County of Monterey-owned Laguna Seca Recreation Area.
More, from a press release issued by American Honda:
Statement of Condolence on the Death of Nicky Hayden
American Honda mourns the loss of a friend and racing hero
May 22, 2017 – TORRANCE, Calif.
It is with profound sadness that American Honda marks the passing of longtime Honda racer Nicky Hayden today, following a bicycle accident in Italy last Wednesday, May 17.
Born to Earl and Rose Hayden in what would be his lifelong hometown of Owensboro, Kentucky, on July 30, 1981, Hayden was the middle sibling to Tommy, Jenny, Roger and Kathleen. The family was a fixture on the amateur flat track scene, and the brothers eventually also took up club road racing in the early ’90s, racing Honda RS125s with support and guidance from Moto Liberty. One year after turning pro, Nicky signed with American Honda in 1999 to race multiple AMA classes for Kevin Erion’s Erion Racing satellite squad. By the end of a season-long title battle with Tommy, “The Kentucky Kid” earned the AMA Supersport crown, was named AMA Flat Track Rookie of the Year, and was promoted to Honda’s factory effort to begin campaigning the premier AMA Superbike division.
In 2002, Nicky took the Daytona 200 victory on his way to becoming the youngest-ever AMA Superbike Champion. The same year, he rode privateer Honda machinery in a part-time effort in the AMA Grand National Championship series, making history when he, Tommy, and Roger finished 1-2-3 at the Springfield TT, becoming the only brothers in AMA Pro history to sweep a professional podium.
HRC signed Nicky to the factory Repsol Honda MotoGP squad for 2003, and the 2005 season saw him score an emotional debut victory at Laguna Seca, his home round. The following season, Hayden picked up a victory at Assen and repeated at Laguna Seca before securing the World Championship at the dramatic finale in Valencia, Spain. Nicky stayed with Repsol Honda for two more seasons and then switched to the factory Ducati team, where he rode for a total of five years before returning to Honda in 2014, this time with the Aspar satellite squad aboard “open”-specification machinery. Last year, Nicky transferred to the World Superbike series with the Ten Kate-run Red Bull Honda team, for whom he won a race in Malaysia and also contested the first five rounds of this season.
Throughout it all, Nicky has remained extremely close to his family. His signature No. 69 was actually on loan from his father Earl, and his parents and siblings could regularly be spotted at his events. One year ago, he was engaged to longtime girlfriend Jacqueline Marin.
Nicky has been a beloved part of the American Honda family since his early AMA days. We have celebrated his many successes together, and enjoyed his occasional visits to the office and Honda pits at a variety of U.S. racing events. This loss is truly the loss of one of our own, and will be felt forever.
Our thoughts are with Nicky’s family, friends, team, competitors, and many, many fans during this difficult time.
Following are reflections from some of the people who worked with Nicky through American Honda:
“I was working on the Haydens’ bikes when they came to Moto Liberty, and that’s kind of when I got my start helping younger riders. Most of the kids that I’ve helped since then, I’ve used Nicky as the baseline because of his dedication, focus, and drive. To this day, I always ask the kids, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ They all say, ‘professional racer,’ so I open my wallet and say, ‘Congratulations, here’s 5 bucks to ride today, you’ve achieved your goal.’ Then I say, ‘You know what Nicky Hayden said when I asked him that question at your age? He said he wanted to be a multi-time world champion.’ I think that pretty much tells you everything you need to know about him.”
–Danny Walker supported the Hayden brothers’ early amateur racing efforts through Moto Liberty. Since then he has worked with many top American racers and today runs American Supercamp riding school and Broaster Chicken RoadRace Factory, American Honda’s effort in the MotoAmerica series.
“Earl used to bug me at the races, saying I should hire his kids, and then one day my parts man, Brian Uchida, came into my office and laid down an article on the Hayden boys. I read it and said, ‘Have you seen them?’ He said, ‘No, but I know people who have, and you need to hire Nicky.’ And so I did, even though I didn’t know anything except that the Haydens were nice people. He has to be one of the best riders I’ve ever worked with. He’d ask me from time to time if he was doing okay, and he would thank me just bout every time I saw him. I still get a card from that family every Christmas, and I’ve been retired for 16 years.”
–Gary Mathers was Motorcycle Sports Racing Manager when Nicky signed with American Honda in 1999. He retired in 2001.
“The Hayden family has always been so impressive—both the parents and the kids—just really good for racing and the industry. He had so much respect for racing. After he won the AMA Supersport title, we asked him to concentrate on Superbike, and he said, ‘Isn’t there a responsibility to wear the No. 1?’ A lot of riders are the opposite—’Do I have to ride the 600?’—but Nicky was thinking beyond the average racer. Ever since he left here for MotoGP, we’ve always looked for Nicky in the results. I understand he was immediately very popular at HRC for his effort and humility, and he quickly became a part of the international Honda family. His Laguna Seca wins and the World Championship were so special. There’s a really strong feeling for the Haydens and Nicky at American Honda because he’s been such a good person for this company.”
–Brian Uchida was the Haydens’ first point of contact at American Honda when they ordered parts for their club-racing RS125s. Uchida also worked in various capacities for Nicky’s AMA race teams and is still employed at American Honda, in the motorcycle accessory department.
“I guess you always know when you’ve got somebody with a something a little bit more than is normal, and we realized right away with Nicky that there was something special going on. He was super-easy to work with, very enjoyable, never demanding, and very appreciative. I’ve enjoyed continuing to follow his career ever since.”
–Kevin Erion runs Erion Racing, for whom Nicky raced in 1999. Erion still assists American Honda on a number of projects.
“The whole Honda family and Hayden family pretty much grew up together, so this is a crushing blow for all of us. Nicky was always the perfect one to have on the team. One time after he came into the official team, he’d had a bad day at the track, and I went over to him and said, ‘Hey, don’t feel so bad. There’s always tomorrow.’ He turned to me and said, ‘No. I’ve got to feel this way. That’s what’s going to make me a champion. I’ve always got to do my best.’ Even with me trying to lift the burden off of him, he kept putting it back on himself, and I think that’s just who he was.”
–Ray Blank was the Vice President of American Honda during Nicky’s AMA career. He retired in 2012.
“From the very beginning, we knew Nicky was special. He was just so energetic, so likeable, a genuine kind of guy. He loved motorcycles and he loved racing. I’ll never forget a story that his mom told me. She said Nicky couldn’t wait to get home after school and get on his motorcycle and ride on their backyard track. She found out that sometimes he was skipping school to do that, so she had a heart-to-heart talk with him: ‘I never want to see you skip school again unless it’s something really bad, like you’re sick.’ He said, ‘Okay Mom.’ A few days later, she got a call from his teacher: ‘Ms. Hayden, I just want to let you know Nicky went home because he had a headache.’ Sure enough, Nicky’s out back on his minibike, doing laps. I think that shows how committed Nicky was and how much he loved it, from the very beginning. That translated into what we came to see not only as a U.S. Superbike Champion, but a World Champion. Quite a few years ago, I had one of many great talks that I’ve enjoyed with Earl Hayden over the years, and he told me that as the boys were coming up racing, he told them it was important for them to apply themselves as hard as they could to be the best racers possible, but that wasn’t the most important thing in life. The most important thing was to be good people with good hearts and good spirits. And I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone live that out better than Nicky has. That’s just him: a good heart and a good spirit. Everybody loved him. He had a great charm about him and he was the kind of kid that was so special in his talent, but he never let it go to his head.”
–Gary Christopher was Senior Manager, Motorcycle Press and Motorcycle Sports when Nicky rode for American Honda. He retired in 2006.
“Nicky was the next young-gun—the up-and-coming guy—but what I really remember is that he was a very polite young racer, and you had to respect that. He always had a quiet little smirk on his face, but there were no excuses with Nicky. He’d go out there and get the job done, and if he had a problem, he was pretty good at communicating with Merlyn [Plumlee, his late crew chief]. Those guys made a good team. It’s just refreshing when you can work with somebody like Nicky because he’s a professional and you knew what you got every time you were at the racetrack. He came to fight. Everyone at American Honda really respects the whole family.”
–Ray Plumb was a coordinator for Team Honda during Nicky’s AMA career. He is now a District Service Manager based in his home state of Colorado.
“With Nicky, I think of a man that has the burn to go motorcycle racing. One thing that stands out was probably in 2000, when we had a test at Willow Springs. He’d stay at my house, and at 4:30 a.m. we’d jump in my wife’s car and drive up there. He’d test all day and we’d jump in the car and drive back. Anybody that knows Nick knows that he’s a better passenger than a driver. He’d just sit there, and I’d rabbit on to him for hours, burning his eardrums out talking about the sky, motorcycles, whatever. I never took the highway—always all these back roads through fields and stuff. As usual, he had the seat reclined all the way back, and I was kind of beating around the bush about something he should be doing different or something. All of a sudden the seat comes up, and he says, ‘You need to understand something right now: I have everything I’ve got into this, and I’ve only got one shot. If you see me making one mistake, you’ve got to tell me right away.’ I said, ‘All right, I’ll do it.’ And he laid the seat back down and that was it. That’s what kind of guy he is. Every fiber of his being is dedicated to what he wants to achieve.”
–Dan Fahie was a mechanic at Team Honda beginning in 1998, by which point he had already been helping the Haydens for a year. He is currently the Senior Racing Manager of Motocross at Kawasaki.
“It’s so great to be around that quality of people. He was so witty, and I genuinely enjoyed my time with him, talking in the team room or whatever. We’d always share information about stuff that worked or didn’t work, and there are things you make notes of when you’re dicing together. But sometimes people assume too much that guys know what to do off the track, and the PR effect that has on Honda or people in management. You’re not just being paid to race the bike; you’ve also got to represent the company and even yourself a little bit. That doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun and you just have to be a robot out there, and Nicky definitely didn’t miss out on life; he just made sure he had the right people around him. Honestly, Nicky may have already had that down, but maybe I confirmed it for him. He was an awesome person and a world champion, and I’m very proud if I played a small part in that.”
–Miguel Duhamel was Nicky’s teammate at Team Honda.
“Nicky was always an integral part of our racing history, winning 600 and Superbike championships in America before becoming a MotoGP champion. But more than his racing success is just his relationship and how empowering that has been through his career. We were so fortunate to get him back after Ducati, and then growing our relationship into World Superbike has been great for the American Honda family. Our thoughts and wishes and prayers are with his family as they go through this difficult time. He has a great relationship with many companies and that’s a tribute to what kind of individual he is. He’s probably like one of five that are out there—or that have ever been out there. Many of us have great fond memories, but also great struggles. Obviously the fond ones are when you win a championship and are standing on the podium with him, but the challenges are what it took to get there—the crashes when you’re going to the hospital with him. We had a lot of those before he became champion, and like with anyone you go through the thick and thin with, it forms a bond.
–Chuck Miller became Motorcycle Sports Racing Manager beginning in 2001 and was in the role when Nicky won the AMA Superbike title in 2002. He is currently Senior Manager of National Sales.
“I was working in the field when Nicky started in Supersport, and it was really the ‘Race on Sunday, sell on Monday’ thing—all the dealers would be talking about Nicky, and customers were on the floor buying a CBR. Then when he was doing Superbike and the transition into MotoGP, I was here at corporate and saw it from that perspective. You realize it’s not just a local thing; he had that same impact everywhere around the world. I remember a dealer trip we had to Japan, and Nicky was going to be riding in MotoGP at Motegi the next day. Our V.P. at that point was pretty tight with Nicky, and asked him, ‘Can you surprise the dealers?’ You’d think this would be Nicky’s last priority in the world at that point, but he went out of his way to come to Tokyo where we were staying and surprise the dealers. And when he does stuff like that, he always does it so naturally. It was never a matter of just showing up for Nicky; he was always present and engaged. So many other people here had deeper relationships with him, but he always made me feel like I knew him, just like he did with everyone else. We brought him up here to the fourth floor for a Q&A after he won the MotoGP championship, and it was like he was in our living room. I see Nicky and I think inspiration, determination, and family. We use that word so much with the Haydens, but it really is a family affair with them, like an extended team. Everybody here is praying for Nicky, and we all have his whole family and his fiancé Jackie in our hearts. There’s nobody walking around here for whom that’s not the case.”
–Chuck Boderman is Vice President, American Honda Motorcycle Division.
ABOUT AMERICAN HONDA
American Honda Motor Co., Inc., is the sole distributor of Honda motorcycles, scooters, ATVs and Side-by-Sides in the U.S. American Honda’s Motorcycle Division conducts the sales, marketing and operational activities for these products through independent authorized Honda retail dealers. For more information on Honda products, go to powersports.honda.com.
More, from a press release issued by Suzuki Motor of America Inc.:
SUZUKI MOURNS THE LOSS OF NICKY HAYDEN
Motorcycling has lost one of its true greats
(BREA, CA) May 22, 2017 – Suzuki joins the rest of the motorcycling community in mourning the loss of 2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden, who passed away today in Italy.
“We extend our deepest sympathies to the Hayden family,” said Kerry Graeber, Suzuki Motor of America’s Vice President of Sales & Marketing. “And our thoughts of hope and comfort go out to Nicky’s brother Roger, who is a part of the Suzuki family.
“Nicky was not only a great racer, but also a wonderful human being, and a true ambassador of motorcycling. He will be missed terribly.”