Nicky Hayden’s MotoGP career is not over! After scoring a point at Aragon in a replacement ride for Australian Jack Miller, the Kentucky Kid will make a return to MotoGP at Phillip Island this weekend, filling in for his former teammate Dani Pedrosa. That’s right, the 2006 MotoGP champion is reuniting with his former team and will again wear the Repsol colors. This time aboard a factory Honda RC213V.
Dani Pedrosa crashed at the previous round at Motegi, fracturing his collarbone. He immediately left the circuit, where he had a successful surgery at the Universitari Dexeus Hospital. He’s due to have a follow-up appointment with his doctors on Wednesday.
Nicky reportedly received the phone call to replace Pedrosa before his World Superbike races at Jerez, making it difficult for him to concentrate at the job at hand. However, ever the professional, he bagged two solid fourth place finishes aboard his CBR1000RR. The following hours proved a challenge, however, as several logistical issues arose, including sorting sponsorship conflicts and obtaining an Australian work visa, as the Australian embassy is closed on the weekend, and practice starts on Friday.
These issues have been sorted out, however, and Hayden is anxious to get to work at one of his favorite tracks. Below is his official quote from the Repsol Honda press release:
“First of all my best wishes to Dani, I’m sure he will come back stronger than ever like he always does. For me it’s crazy hard work but it’s a chance, ten year after winning my World Title, to get back to my old “dream team”! Doing a week-end in Phillip Island on a factory Honda, it’s pretty emotional for me to even think about it, and I’m very grateful for this opportunity and the trust that Honda gives me. I want also to thank my current team for allowing me to go and do this, and the sponsors. Everybody worked a lot on every detail to make it possible for me so now I’m excited to get on a plane, to get down to Phillip Island and hopefully I can do a good job for the team. Regarding Phillip Island there are two things to always consider, the weather and the tyres but it’s a track I love and I can’t wait to ride the bike there. Let’s get started on Friday morning and go forward.”