It has been announced that 2006 MotoGP world champion Nicky Hayden has died, following a crash on Wednesday afternoon while training on his bike near the Misano circuit in Italy. The 35-year-old was involved in a road accident with a car while training, getting hit by the vehicle at a junction, and was taken to a local hospital. He was then transferred to another nearby hospital for further assessment.
He has remained critically ill since with his family at his bedside, but today succumbed to his injuries.
Nicky was a true all-rounder, excelling not only in the premiere class to take the 2006 world title from Valentino Rossi but also in his early years as an AMA Pro Flat Track racer and as a production bike rider both in the AMA Superbike series and more recently in World Superbikes for the Red Bull Honda team.
More than a racer, though, he was also loved by the paddock and his fellow competitors. One of the few people that no one would ever have a bad word to say about, the American was rare in having taken a championship without ever made an enemy in MotoGP – something acknowledged in the huge outpouring of grief and comfort from riders, teams, media and organisers since the news first broke of his crash on Wednesday afternoon.
That also extended to his fans, making him one of the most popular riders ever to grace the class. Both humbling and humble despite his successes, the Kentucky Kid loved interacting with his fans both online and in person, always having time to sign an autograph or pose for a selfie.
Motorcycle News joins the wider racing fraternity in sending our deepest sympathies to Nicky’s fiancé Jackie, his parents Earl and Rose, his siblings Tommy, Jenny, Nicky, Roger, and Kathleen, and to his family, friends, and fans.
The 35-year-old American was hit by a car on a training exercise in Italy last week and suffered severe head and chest injuries. On Monday, the Maurizio Bufalini Hospital, where he had been placed into a medically induced coma, confirmed that he had died.
“The medical team has verified the death of the patient Nicholas Patrick Hayden, who has been undergoing care since last Wednesday 17 May in the intensive care unit of the Bufalini Hospital in Cesena following a very serious polytrauma which occurred the same day,” the statement said.
A beautiful person, genuine and real.
RIP mate. pic.twitter.com/UiDwzhe67N
— Mark Webber (@AussieGrit) May 22, 2017
The driver of the vehicle that struck Hayden was given a breathalyzer test and was not found to have been over the limit at the time of the accident. Italian police have opened an inquiry into the accident, and the conclusions are expected in July.
Hayden entered MotoGP, motorcycling’s elite competition, in 2003 and won the world championship in 2006, narrowly beating his friend and rival Valentino Rossi, who had won the title five times in a row. Hayden, who was born in Owensboro, Kentucky, transferred to World Superbikes in 2016. He was competing for the Red Bull Honda team this season and was 13th in the drivers’ standings.
Rest in peace!