It has been 8 years since Nicky Hayden last rode a factory Honda in MotoGP, since the end of 2008 when he left them for Ducati. At Phillip Island, the American will once again experience the thrill of bearing those colours, because he will be the one to replace the injured Dani Pedrosa.
For Nicky, this will be the second time this season astride a MotoGP bike, after subbing for Jack Miller at Aragón.
“First of all my best wishes to Dani, I’m sure he will come back stronger than ever like he always does - the Kentucky Kid stated - 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 weekend in Phillip Island on a factory Honda is pretty emotional for me to even think about it. I’m very grateful for this opportunity and the trust that Honda has given me. I also want to thank my current team in SBK for allowing me to go and do this. Everybody worked a lot on every detail to make it possible for me.”
Pedrosa has left his bike in good hands, but his main concern for now is to return to fitness after the surgery on his collarbone.
“I had severe pain for a few days after the operation, but things are starting to get a little bit better now - Dani talks about his convalescence - I left the hospital and I have a check-up scheduled for Wednesday. Only after that will I have a better idea about the recovery time and about when I’ll be able to get back on my bike.”
Hayden will be sharing the garage with newly crowned world champion, Marc Marquez. The Spaniard has not had much time to celebrate.
“It’s fantastic to arrive at Phillip Island with no pressure for the Championship, as the track is one of my favourite on the calendar - he says - One of the main issues to take into account there is the weather. It’s usually very cold during this period of the year and always windy. We’ll try to win some more races before the end of the year as there are also the Manufacturer and the Team titles to think of.”