Starting from humble dirt track beginnings at the age of four, Nicky Hayden has captured many titles in premier motorcycle racing, including MotoGP.
Rider: Nicholas “Nicky” Hayden
Nickname: Nick the Quick, Kentucky Kid, Trick Daddy
Born: July 30, 1981 in Owensboro, Kentucky
Team: Power Electronics Aspar
Machine: Honda RCV1000R (#69)
Don’t think for a minute that this good-natured, always smiling kid from Kentucky doesn’t have the heart of a winner. Both of Nicky’s parents were involved in dirt track racing before he was born. Earl, Nicky’s father, built dirt tracks for his five children to learn how to race bikes while living in the countryside of Kentucky. With Nicky’s two brothers racing in the AMA Superbike Championship and his own success in AMA and MotoGP, his father’s dream has been made a reality.
Hayden began his career with dirt track racing, beginning at four-years-old at the Paducah International Raceway. From that moment on, he competed regularly in the category and spent nearly every weekend traveling to tracks all over the American Midwest with his family.
Although over time his passion transferred itself more towards road racing, Nicky and his brothers have always remained interested in dirt track, a world in which they all obtained great results. A highlight was the historic Springfield TT in 2002 where, having all qualified on the front row, all three brothers stepped up to the podium. Nicky, Tommy and Roger Lee finished the race in that order – something that had never happened before in a professional AMA Flat Track race. At that time Nicky was already one of the most talented riders in the AMA Superbike Championship and was in contention for the title, a title that he won just a few months later.
Nicky Hayden gives Honda its 200th MotoGP win and picked up his first Grand Prix title the same year.
After three seasons in MotoGP, Nicky picked up his first career win at the USGP at Laguna Seca. In front of his American fans Nicky dominated, leading every lap and winning the hearts of many GP fans across the globe. For 2006, the Kentucky Kid did one better by claiming the checkers at Laguna again while netting the MotoGP title for Honda. To earn the championship, Hayden exhibited consistency and determination, overcoming a devastating DNF at Estoril courtesy of his Repsol Honda teammate, Dani Pedrosa.
In 2007 the GP category moved from 990cc to 800cc machines and Hayden was not immediately comfortable with the new 800cc V-Four RC212V at his command. He also had a two-year contract with the factory Honda team, but Nick the Quick was under the gun to win another title and couldn’t deliver. The work completed during the year allowed him to reach the podium in Germany, Holland and the Czech Republic, but he was only able to finish the season eighth overall.
Since switching to Ducati, Hayden has experienced mixed results with only two podiums scored throughout 2009 and 2010.
2008 was another year of mixed fortunes for Hayden, especially at the start of the season when, despite several top-five finishes, he failed to reach the podium. An injury to his foot, caused when he participated in a Supermoto race at the X-Games in Los Angeles, complicated things and forced him to miss the Czech Republic and San Marino GP races. However, always ready to fight harder, the American was back in form at his home round of Indianapolis, where in difficult conditions and less than perfect health, he finished second behind Valentino Rossi. Another podium at Phillip Island and a series of strong results toward the end of the season allowed him to climb the leader board to finish the year in sixth place.
In 2009 Hayden made the jump from Honda to Ducati where he campaigned aboard the Desmosedici GP9 alongside teammate and 2007 champion, Casey Stoner. In 17 starts Hayden only made it to the podium once in ’09, and finished 13th overall.
The next year Hayden continued to struggle aboard his Ducati machine. Like the previous year, The Kentucky Kid only managed one podium finish during a mediocre season. Despite his lackluster results, Hayden finished seventh overall after posting respectable top-10 finishes throughout the year.
In 2011 he continued with Ducati and earned a season high third-place finish in Round 2 at Jerez, but after that result he languished outside the top-five for all but a handful of races. He finished the year in eighth overall. 2012 proved to be an even more disappointing year for Hayden, as he was unable to push his Ducati to the top-three all year, breaking a streak of earning at least one MotoGP podium a season since his first year in 2003. His best result of the year came in a rain-soaked battle at Sepang where he finished fourth. He ended 2012 in ninth overall.
Hayden remained with Ducati for 2013 and was joined by new teammate Andrea Dovizioso. Hayden remained unable to get the Duc into podium position and ended the season with a fifth-place finish at Le Mans as his best result of the year. Mid-way through the season Ducati confirmed that it was ending its relationship with the American rider after five years. He finished the 2013 season ninth overall.
Hayden remains in MotoGP for 2014 after signing a contract with Power Electronics Aspar to ride the new Honda RCV1000R alongside new teammate, Hiroshi Aoyama.
2013 – 9th MotoGP – Ducati
2012 – 9th MotoGP – Ducati
2011 – 8th MotoGP – Ducati
2010 – 7th MotoGP – Ducati
2009 – 13th MotoGP – Ducati
2008 – 6th MotoGP – Honda
2007 – 8th MotoGP – Honda
2006 – 1st MotoGP – Honda
2005 – 3rd MotoGP – Honda
2004 – 8th MotoGP – Honda
2003 – MotoGP Rookie of the Year
2003 – 5th MotoGP – Honda
2002 – 1st AMA Superbike – Honda
2002 – 1st Daytona 200 – Honda
2001 – 3rd AMA Superbike – Honda
2000 – 2nd AMA Superbike – Honda
2000 – 4th AMA 600 Supersport – Honda
1999 – 2nd AMA Formula Xtreme – Honda
1999 – 1st AMA 600 Supersport – Honda
1999 – AMA Grand National Dirt Track Rookie of the Year
1999 – AMA/Speedvision Pro Athlete of the Year
1998 – 4th AMA 600 Supersport – Honda
1998 – 4th AMA 750 Supersport – Honda
1997 – AMA Horizon Award