In 2006, Nicky Hayden was dealt a crushing blow when his teammate Dani Pedrosa crashed into him at Estoril, seemingly ending the Kentucky Kid’s shot at the world title. Fast forward to Grand Prix of Valencia, and title leader Valentino Rossi suddenly wiped out at the beginning of the race. Though he would rejoin the race, he wouldn’t be able to claw back enough points to stop title rival Hayden from claiming the world title. That year, motorcycle racing’s grand championship came home to America, but in 2017, America has lost its last world champion.
2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicholas “Nicky” Patrick Hayden, 1981-2017
Fresh off his World Superbike race at Imola, Nicky was out training on a bicycle when he met with disaster. A black sedan slammed into the back of Hayden’s bike, splitting the cycle in two and hurtling Nicky off the car’s hood and windshield. Rimini authorities arrived on the scene, provided medical assistance and then transported Hayden to a local hospital.
Reports say that Nicky was stabilized before being sent to Bufalini Hospital in Cesena, Italy. He was being treated in the hospital’s intensive care unit for severe injuries to the chest and head. On Thursday, May 18th, his brother Tommy and mother Rose arrived in Italy to be by Nicky’s bedside. They were joined by the Red Bull Honda team and Nicky’s fiancée, Jackie Marin. Nicky’s father, Earl Hayden, was unable to travel to Italy due to his own health problems, but so he went on a mission to fight a wave of fake news that has been pouring through social media.
Then, on May 22nd, staff at the Bufalini Hospital released a statement announcing that five days after his crash, Nicky Hayden had succumbed to his injuries.
Since this terrible accident, fans from all over the world have been sending their well wishes. Three-time MotoGP Champion Marc Marquez tweeted a picture of himself and Hayden, saying “My thoughts are with you.” Former teammate and Nine-time champion Valentino Rossi spoke out calling Nicky “one of the best friends I’ve ever had in the paddock.” Now that wave of support has turned into condolences as the entire motorcycling world has flooded social media with their tributes and stories about Nicky.
As attorneys who have represented both cyclists and motorcyclists, we’ve seen first-hand how devastating this type of crash can be. From the attorneys here at the Metier Law Firm, we will all miss you, Nicky.
Ride on, Kentucky Kid!