OWENSBORO, Ky. — 2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden succumbed on Monday morning to injuries sustained in a cycling crash in Italy.
He was 35 years old.
The Owensboro, Ky. native and former Repsol Honda rider, who won a hotly contested title bout that year with Valentino Rossi, moved to World Superbikes last year, riding a Honda Fireblade backed by Red Bull in the WSBK championship.
He picked up a victory in the rain in Malaysia last year and returned to the MotoGP ranks for two substitute appearances as well, most notably for former teammate Dani Pedrosa after a broken collarbone sidelined Pedrosa from on-track action.
Through five rounds of racing this season, Hayden ranked 13th in WSBK points, a slow start and a lack of testing miles hampering his efforts with Red Bull Honda.
Hayden was cycling on the Rimini coast last Wednesday when he was struck by a passenger car and rushed to the hospital with severe head and chest trauma.
After later being transferred to Maurizio Bufalini hospital’s intensive care unit in Cesena, doctors confirmed that the ‘Kentucky Kid’ had severe brain damage as a result of the tragic accident.
All told, Hayden’s career-record in MotoGP ended with three wins, 28 podiums and five poles in 218 races, while his World Superbike resume carries his win in Malaysia last year, alongside four podiums and a best finish of fifth in the championship.
Hayden is survived by fiancee Jackie, parents Earl and Rose, brothers Roger Lee and Tommy, and sisters Jenny and Kathleen.
The staff at Race Chaser Online sends our prayers and condolences to the Hayden family and all of Nicky’s friends, colleagues and fans during this difficult time.