Former MotoGP world champion Nicky Hayden has died from injuries suffered in a cycling road accident in Italy.
The American motrcycle star had been in intensive care with extensive head injuries after being struck by a car on Italy’s Rimini coast last Thursday morning Australian time.
Known as the ‘Kentucky Kid’ Hayden forged a long career at the top level of motorcyling racing including MotoGP where he rode for the likes of Honda and Ducati, before switching to the World Superbike Series where he was campaigning for the Red Bull Honda squad.
The 35-year-old made 217 MotoGP starts between 2003 and 2016, beating Valentino Rossi to the 2006 world championship in the fourth of his six seasons with the factory Honda team.
He moved to Ducati in 2009 and spent his final two full-time seasons with the Aspar Honda team before switching to the World Superbike Championship with the Japanese firm last year.
The American made two more MotoGP starts in 2016, as an injury replacement for Marc VDS Honda’s Jack Miller at Aragon and at Phillip Island for factory Honda rider Dani Pedrosa.
Hayden was 13th in the 2017 World SBK standings after five rounds, failing to finish the first race at Imola the weekend before his accident and crossing the line 12th in the other.
Following is the full statement Statement from Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team.
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 (3:09 AEST) 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.”
Speedcafe.com passes on its deepest condolences to the Hayden family and friends.