Nicky Hayden On Leaving MotoGP, And Rossi vs. Lorenzo

The 2006 World Champion Looks Ahead to Valencia

At his final Grand Prix appearance in Valencia, American Nicky Hayden looks back on his career, and his 2006 title fight which also ended at the Spanish circuit.©Motorcyclist

It's an emotional weekend in MotoGP for a lot of riders, and while Nicky Hayden isn't in the thick of the championship fight he has his own reasons to be under pressure. The Valencia round marks the American veteran's final round of MotoGP competition, capping a career that spanned 13 years of racing. In typical Kentucky fashion, though, Hayden refuses to add to the drama.

“Well, I don’t think about it too much,” he said. “Just come here and try to do my job. Would be nice to get a good result, it’s not going to be easy, the field this year is incredibly tough. I’m sure Sunday I’ll have a few reflections, but for now I just want to focus on the race and do what I always do.”

As much as Nicky focuses on his own race the focus of the weekend will surely be the final battle for the MotoGP crown between Movistar Yamaha teammates Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo. Hayden has unique perspective on the situation, the championship being similarly poised in 2006 between he and Rossi.

Nicky Hayden aboard the RC211V V-five Honda leads Valentino Rossi and Carlos Checa on Yamahas, circa 2006.©Motorcyclist
Nicky Hayden's 2006 title battle with Valentino Rossi came down to the final round at Valencia as well.©Motorcyclist

A newly crowned MotoGP Legend, and a survivor of the final-round-of-the-championship pressure cooker, he was asked if he had any sage words of advice for Yamaha teammates Lorenzo and Rossi.

“No, I mean they’re both pros,” he said. “They know what they’re doing. I think it just proves that anything can happen on race day. That’s why we love racing. You don't know what’s going to happen. And it’s why we line up because it’s so unpredictable.

“Both guys… Jorge has a lot of pressure on him because he needs to go out and get the maximum points to make it harder on Vale [Rossi]. And Vale has a big job, it’s not easy to pass around here [at Valencia]. So it’s very clear what both guys need to do. I don't think they need me to coach them and tell them what to do. I’m very curious to see what happens. Let’s enjoy a great Sunday. There are two championships up for grabs and looking forward to seeing what happens.”

Nicky Hayden will continue his world championship roadracing career in 2016 as a competitor in the World Superbike Championship (see American Nicky Hayden Will Leave MotoGP To Race WorldSBK in 2016).