Nicky Hayden Set To Replace Injured Pedrosa In Australian GP

Former MotoGP world champion will race Repsol Honda at Phillip Island.

Nicky Hayden on Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda
American Nicky Hayden, seen here last month racing a Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda at Motorland Aragon, will team with Marc Marquez this weekend in Australia as a stand-in for injured Dani Pedrosa. Hayden has three podium finishes at Phillip Island.Photo: Marc VDS Racing Team

Nicky Hayden will replace injured Dani Pedrosa this weekend at Phillip Island in Australia, racing in Repsol Honda colors for the first time since 2008. Hayden's teammate for the weekend, newly crowned 2016 MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez, won last year's event.

Hayden got his first taste of the current RC213V and latest Michelin tires earlier this season at Motorland Aragon in Spain as a fill-in for Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Jack Miller. The 35-year-old American qualified 19th and finished 15th, earning a single championship point.

“It’s crazy, hard work,” Hayden admitted, “but it’s a chance, 10 years after winning my world title, to get back to my old ‘dream team.’ It’s pretty emotional for me to even think about doing a weekend in Phillip Island on a factory Honda.

“I’m very grateful for this opportunity and the trust that Honda gives me. The weather and tires are two things to consider, but Phillip Island is a track I love, and I can’t wait to ride the bike there. Hopefully, I can do a good job for the team.”

Hayden with new MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez.
Hayden with new MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez.Photo: MotoGP

Pedrosa, meanwhile, is recovering from surgery on his right collarbone. “I felt strong pain after the operation, but things are starting to get a little bit better now,” he said. “I have a check-up scheduled for Wednesday. After that, I will have a better idea about the recovery time and when I’ll be able to get back on my bike.”

After winning the 2002 AMA Superbike championship, Hayden made the leap to MotoGP with Repsol Honda. During six seasons with the factory squad, the Kentucky native earned 25 podiums, including three victories, and the 2006 world title.

After five winless seasons with Ducati, Hayden returned to Honda, campaigning a satellite machine with the Aspar team for two seasons before moving this year to the Honda-backed Ten Kate squad in the FIM Superbike World Championship.

With one round remaining in that series, Hayden has four podium finishes, including a victory at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. He is fifth overall in the points standings.

(Original story from motoamerica.com)