The Austin GP is dedicated to Nicky Hayden and today, during an official ceremony, his race number #69 will be officially withdrawn from MotoGP. Riders in the top class have shared anecdotes about the American.
ROSSI: “THE FIRST TIME I SAW HAYDEN, HE SEEMED TO COME FROM ANOTHER PLANET”
“We met for the first time in 2003 at the station in Tokyo. We were team-mates in Honda. He arrived with his very American style, like something from another planet. We took the train and Nicky started asking loads of questions, but he spoke in slang and I struggled to understand him. He kept on asking questions until I said: “Nicky, don't ask too many questions and hope it's over as soon as possible. And he agreed”.
MARQUEZ: “NICKY WAS THE LIFE AND SOUL OF THE PARTY”
“I remember a couple of special moments with Nicky, the first was in 2008 when we had the Team Repsol presentation. I was only 15 and he brought me a birthday cake. The second was when we shared a garage in Australia, when Dani was injured. After the race we arranged a party and it was fun because Nicky started singing on the stage with his girlfriend”.
DOVIZIOSO: “I REMEMBER WHEN HAYDEN TRIED TO SPUR ON THE TAXI DRIVER”
“I met Nicky at the start of my career in the world championship, because I raced for Honda and during winter all the HRC riders would often go to Motegi. Then we were team-mates in Ducati and I spent a lot of time with him. One funny episode took place in Japan, when we took a taxi to go to the airport. He was sat up front and tried to get the driver to go faster, because he was driving so slow. It was funny to watch because he was doing everything to get him to put his foot down but it still took us more than three hours to get to the airport! He was always a lot of fun, he had a very American style, but was always laid back and it was always great to spend time with him”.
RINS: “I MADE NICKY LAUGH WITH MY ENGLISH”
“i remember that the first time I saw him was in 2012, my first press conference for having scored pole position in Moto3 at Jerez. He was sat next to me and he really laughed at my English. I hope I've improved a little now. It was very funny”.