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MotoGP: Nicky Hayden, 2006 - Words of a Champion

"I knew this was the chance of a lifetime and I had to go for it" - Nicky Hayden.
As the motorsport world mourns the loss of Nicky Hayden, we look back at his greatest season, in which the American won the 2006 MotoGP title after a last-race showdown with Valentino Rossi.

The following is from the Crash.net archives...


Nicky Hayden's dream comes true!

The odds were stacked against Nicky Hayden heading into Sunday's Valencian title showdown, but the American went on to produce one of the greatest upsets in MotoGP history and take the title from five-times world champion Valentino Rossi.

After leading the championship for almost the entire season, the Repsol Honda rider began the 17th and final round eight-points behind Rossi - after devastatingly being taken out by team-mate Dani Pedrosa at Estoril - and, with Rossi then taking pole position for the title decider, Nicky looked like he'd need a miracle to defeat one of the greatest riders of all time.

But the Italian struggled to launch his Camel Yamaha off the start line and Hayden was ahead of the #46 within one lap, before charging quickly from sixth to second - after being waved past by Pedrosa - by lap three of 30. Hayden then set his sights on race leader Troy Bayliss, but when Rossi fell on lap five the Kentuckian no longer needed to become involved in what would have been a risky battle for victory and settled into a safe third behind Bayliss and Ducati team-mate Loris Capirossi.

Hayden held that position right to the flag, handing him the final 990cc world championship by just five points over Rossi, who remounted to finish 13th.

To put Hayden's achievement into perspective, he is only the second rider in history to have come from behind and won the title at the final race - and on the only previous occasion, in 1992, Wayne Rainey had been just two points behind Mick Doohan, who was also recovering from injury.

Nicky Hayden, Valencia 2006 (pic: Gold&Goose).

"When you dedicate your life to something and the dream comes true it feels so good," began an emotional Hayden, who has been with Repsol Honda ever since his 2003 MotoGP debut. "This is a proud day for me, the team and my family. I want to thank everybody back home and I hope they're partying back there in Owensboro.

"When I went down at the beginning of the Estoril race I thought the dream was over but I just didn't give up. Anything can happen in racing and you just keep fighting until the end. I just believe good things happen to good people and this is a great day for me.

"On the warm-up lap, when I was riding round in front of a full house, I had tears in my eyes because I knew this was the chance of a lifetime and I had to go for it. I've felt all year that this was my year - even at Estoril when Elias beat Rossi I believed it. I knew that win or lose I was going to sleep well tonight because I was gonna give it my all today.

"I got a good start and I was just fighting to get to the front in the first few laps. I saw some marks on the track and then I came round and my pit-board said "Rossi P19". Then it went to P17, P15 and P14 and it was a tough situation because I knew there was probably going to be a couple of riders pull over for him. And I knew that you can never count Valentino out - if his bike was ok then he can make up a lot of positions in a hurry.

"I didn't know if I was going to have to fight the guys ahead of me because if you get in a dogfight with Loris and Troy you know you're going to take some chances. But I stayed close enough that I felt like I was going to be able to go for it if I needed to. Then I saw "P3 OK" on my pit-board and I had faith in my team that they had figured it out that I was safe. Then I just tried to be smooth and tried to be smooth. Honestly I didn't know it was over until the chequered flag. It feels really good to beat a guy like Rossi because he's a real competitor with seven world titles and that just makes it that much more rewarding.

"I really want to thank everyone involved in the Repsol Honda Team, and Michelin because it's their 5th straight title in MotoGP so a big thanks to them too. I'm looking forward to getting that number-one plate on my RCV next year," concluded Hayden, indicating that he will replace his traditional #69 for the new era of 800cc competition.

Hayden's title is Honda's first since Rossi left the factory team for Yamaha at the end of 2003.

"During the last five laps I was praying so hard for the race to finish!" confessed Repsol team manager Makoto Tanaka. "I want say from the bottom of my heart, "Congratulations and thank you very much to Nicky". We didn't win the race today but it was such a valuable result that it was like a one-two finish. Both Nicky and Dani have done the perfect job today. We've had a very eventful season but this is a fantastic moment and we can enjoy it to the full. So I want to say thank you again to the riders who have worked very hard. Also thanks to the fans and to all our sponsors for their excellent support. Now all the team can celebrate this fantastic moment together."

"First of all I wish to congratulate Nicky and thank him for bringing the title back to Honda. He rode a good clever race today," stated Satoru Horiike, managing director of HRC. "I also have to thank Dani because he also did a good job for us today. During the season we had to put in a great effort and had to cope with some problems with the clutch but finally Nicky made it."

Hayden took his first world title with two wins and 10 podiums, combined with 16 out of a possible 17 points scoring finishes.

The 2006 MotoGP season saw eight different riders start on pole position, twelve different riders finish on the podium and seven different race winners - but ended with only one champion, Nicky Hayden.

The American took the title lead at round three of 17, finished off the podium just once from the opening eight races and - while reigning five-times champion Valentino Rossi struggled with bike set-up, technical problems and injury - went on to build a huge 34 point lead over nearest rival Dani Pedrosa after his second victory of the season, at Laguna Seca.

At that point, round eleven, Rossi was a distant 51 points behind Hayden and claimed he was no longer thinking about the title, but Rossi and Yamaha came back with all guns blazing after the summer break and by the time MotoGP arrived for the penultimate round of the season, at Estoril, Rossi was just 12 points adrift.

That then turned into an eight-point lead for the Valencian title decider when Hayden was sensationally eliminated from the Estoril race by his own team-mate Pedrosa. But a season of unprecedented drama had one final twist and - against all expectation - Rossi fell early in the title decider, leaving a faultless Hayden to claim third place and with it his first world championship.

But the title fight was far from a straight Hayden vs. Rossi contest, with Ducati's Loris Capirossi leading for the first two rounds - and being tied with Hayden at the top of the standings after round six - while Marco Melandri joined Capirossi, Pedrosa and Rossi in holding second in the championship at least once during the year.


The story of the dramatic 2006 season, in Hayden own words


Hayden and Pedrosa, 2006 Spanish MotoGP (pic: Gold&Goose).

Round 1 – Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez:
Qualifying: Capirossi pole, Hayden 4th.
Race: Capirossi 1st, Pedrosa 2nd, Hayden 3rd.
Championship: Capirossi 1st, Pedrosa 2nd (-5 points), Hayden 3rd (-9 points). Rossi 14th (-22 points).

Hayden finishes the first race of the season in third place, behind rookie team-mate Dani Pedrosa and Ducati's Loris Capirossi, marking his fifth consecutive podium finish and continuing his excellent form the end of the previous season. Reigning champion Rossi fell at the first turn after being hit by Toni Elias, but recovered to finish 14th.

Hayden: "It wasn't pretty with a few guys dropping out, but nonetheless we'll take the 16 points and the podium. Last year I crashed out here so it's nice to get off and running with some momentum. We were testing here two weeks ago and at that point we didn't have a chance but the team's made a big step. It's early man - it's only round one and we'll get stronger."

Rossi, Hayden, Capirossi, 2006 Qatar MotoGP (pic: Gold&Goose).

Round 2 – Qatar Grand Prix at Losail:
Qualifying: Stoner pole, Hayden 4th.
Race: Rossi 1st, Hayden 2nd, Capirossi 3rd.
Championship: Capirossi 1st, Hayden 2nd (-5 points), Pedrosa 3rd (-11 points), Rossi 4th (-14 points).

Hayden duels with Rossi for the win, but finishing just 0.9s behind the Italian. The performance confirms the potential of the 'evolution' spec RC211V - which only Hayden is using - and of Nicky as a title contender.

Hayden: "Battling for the win is so much more fun than battling for fourth place! I pushed Valentino hard today and I pushed myself about as hard as I could too. On the last lap in a left-hander I got into a little slide, Valentino gapped me and it was hard to recover, but the new bike's definitely getting better and we're heading in the right direction. Six podiums on the trot is cool, but it would be nice to get a few wins along the way!"

Hayden, Melandri, Stoner, Pedrosa, 2006 Turkish MotoGP (pic: Gold&Goose).

Round 3 – Turkish Grand Prix at Istanbul Park:
Qualifying: Vermeulen pole, Hayden 2nd.
Race: Melandri 1st, Stoner 2nd, Hayden 3rd.
Championship: Hayden 1st, Capirossi 2nd (-1 point), Melandri 3rd (7 points). Rossi 5th (-12 points).

Hayden takes the world championship lead for the first time after finishing a safe third behind fellow Honda riders Melandri and Stoner. Rossi recovers to fourth after qualifying just eleventh in the wet.

Hayden: "It was a wild race. Everyone was riding super-aggressive and fighting for position but nobody was doing any bone-head stuff. I had a problem on the starting line when one of the tyre warmers melted to the front disc. The brakes actually came in pretty good, but it didn't feel perfect. Leading the world championship is something to be proud of but I've gotta keep working hard and stay focused, and really I've gotta win races if I'm going threaten for the title."

Hayden congratulates Pedrosa on first win, 2006 Chinese MotoGP (pic: Gold&Goose).

Round 4 – Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai:
Qualifying: Pedrosa pole, Hayden 5th.
Race: Pedrosa 1st, Hayden 2nd, Edwards 3rd.
Championship: Hayden 1st, Capirossi 2nd (-13 points), Pedrosa 3rd (-15 points). Rossi 6th (-32 points).

In a Repsol Honda one-two, Hayden pushes his team-mate all the way but can't deny Pedrosa his first MotoGP win. Nevertheless, the result marks his eighth consecutive MotoGP podium and he gains vital championship points on Capirossi (eighth) and Rossi, who retires from the race after front tyre problems.

Hayden: "I tried to go a little bit faster every lap and put some heat on Dani, but that dude just wouldn't crack! So I definitely give Dani credit because he rode a really strong race. Congratulations to all the guys involved in Repsol Honda - they deserve it and Honda's fighting hard for this championship. I'm trying to be consistent in every race and every session and I like to think that win's not far away. It's nice to pull out a little gap in championship but it's early days."

Hayden, 2006 French MotoGP (pic: Gold&Goose).

Round 5 – French Grand Prix at Le Mans:
Qualifying: Pedrosa pole, Hayden 10th.
Race: Melandri 1st, Capirossi 2nd, Pedrosa 3rd. Hayden 5th.
Championship: Hayden 1st, Melandri 2nd (-4 points), Capirossi 3rd (-4 points). Rossi 8th (-43 points).

The toughest weekend of the year so far for Hayden, partly due to flu, ends with the American rising from tenth on the grid to fifth - ending his podium run and allowing race winner Melandri to close to within four points of the title lead - but Rossi suffers more bad luck, retiring from the lead with engine problems.

Hayden: "It's been a tough weekend, all weekend! Since we got off the plane from China it hasn't come real smooth - it's been bad with the weather, bad with the flu we've had a few things go against us. We fought as hard as we could today and ended up fifth which is not the result we want - but we're still holding on to that championship lead. I hated to see that consecutive podium streak end but hey, we'll bounce back and get ready for the next one."

Capirossi 2nd, Rossi 1st, Hayden 3rd, 2006 Italian MotoGP (pic: Gold&Goose).

Round 6 – Italian Grand Prix at Mugello:
Qualifying: Gibernau pole, Hayden 4th.
Race: Rossi 1st, Capirossi 2nd, Hayden 3rd.
Championship: Capirossi 1st, Hayden 2nd (-0 points), Melandri 3rd (-10 points). Rossi 5th (-34 points).

Hayden fights back from a bad start to duel with Rossi, Capirossi and Melandri for victory at their home track. Despite 'only' finishing third and technically losing his world championship lead to Capirossi (the pair are tied on points, but Capirossi has a race win) Hayden enjoys every minute of the thrilling Mugello fight.

Hayden: "After Le Mans I needed to come back this weekend and answer the bell, and today I did that. Everybody was out for blood today. With the atmosphere here and the crowd, these are the races you really enjoy. I didn't help myself with the start though - I mean there's no excuses for getting a start like that! Now the season has really started and we're coming to a few tracks I really like."

Rossi, Hayden, 2006 Catalunya MotoGP (pic: Gold&Goose).

Round 7 – Catalan Grand Prix at Catalunya:
Qualifying: Rossi pole, Hayden 7th.
Race: Rossi 1st, Hayden 2nd, Roberts 3rd.
Championship: Hayden 1st, Capirossi 2nd (-20 points), Rossi 3rd (-29 points).

Steering clear of a big first corner crash that claims several riders, including title contenders Capirossi and Melandri, Hayden stalks Rossi for the entire race. The Repsol Honda rider finishes 4.5secs behind at the flag, but gains 20 points on the absent Capirossi.

Hayden: "Sure I want to win, but I'm happy with being able to run at that pace today because I've struggled a bit all weekend. I was 10th in the warm up this morning and 10th on Friday, and I knew today that when the light went out I had to find some speed and dig in. So I was really happy to be able to raise my game. Rossi was playing today - he had more in the tank and was saving his tyres so I knew it was going to be hard to stay with him at the end of the race. I wanted to be smart and stay consistent today - I can't afford to have any off-days."

Edwards falls within sight of victory, Hayden wins, 2006 Dutch MotoGP (pic: Gold&Goose).

Round 8 – Dutch TT at Assen:
Qualifying: Hopkins pole, Hayden 4th.
Race: Hayden 1st, Nakano 2nd, Pedrosa 3rd.
Championship: Hayden 1st, Pedrosa 2nd (-42 points), Capirossi 3rd (-44 points), Rossi 4th (-46 points).

Hayden finally takes his first victory of the season, and second ever in MotoGP, after a dramatic last corner showdown with countryman Colin Edwards. The pair went side-by-side into the last chicane, with Hayden then running wide after trying to overtake around the outside - but Edwards then highsides in efforts to stay ahead.

Meanwhile, a practice fall had left Rossi riding with a fractured hand and ankle, while Capirossi and Melandri were still carrying their Catalunya injuries, all of which meant Nicky now held a 42 point lead over Pedrosa.

Hayden: "It was a wild one today and I definitely enjoyed it - it's just a really good day for me. I'm proud to win for Repsol Honda and really proud to score Honda's 200th win in the top class of grand prix too. At the end of the race I felt really good and really strong. Going into the last chicane he was going in so deep so I used a move I'd used on Hopkins earlier in the race. Huge thanks to my team and everyone working around me at Repsol Honda, and also to Michelin. It's a great feeling to get that win away from home."

Nicky and Earl Hayden, 2006 British MotoGP (pic: Gold&Goose).

Round 9 – British Grand Prix at Donington Park:
Qualifying: Pedrosa pole, Hayden 11th.
Race: Pedrosa 1st, Rossi 2nd, Melandri 3rd. Hayden 7th.
Championship: Hayden 1st, Pedrosa 2nd (-26 points), Rossi 3rd (-35 points).

With new chassis parts to evaluate on the first day of the grand prix weekend, Hayden loses vital set-up time and never fully recovers. Despite running off track in the race he grinds out a seventh place finish from eleventh on the grid, but victory for Pedrosa puts the young Spaniard within 26 points of the top.

Hayden: "It's been quite a tough weekend and things didn't quite go for us here. We used a quite lot of time on Friday testing some new parts and yesterday we made some progress, though we had a little electrical problem in the afternoon. That's all excuses though and the bottom line is that we didn't get it done this weekend. We'll regroup now, think about what didn't go so well this weekend and try to do better in Sachsenring."

Rossi, Melandri, Pedrosa, Hayden, 2006 German MotoGP (pic: Gold&Goose).

Round 10 – German Grand Prix at Sachsenring:
Qualifying: Pedrosa pole, Hayden 3rd.
Race: Rossi 1st, Melandri 2nd, Hayden 3rd.
Championship: Hayden 1st, Rossi 2nd (-26 points), Pedrosa 3rd (-29 points).

A thrilling race-long scrap at the front sees Hayden leading the early laps, but Rossi produces a classic ride to beat a trio of Hondas in a nail biting finish - from just eleventh on the grid. The victory moves Rossi back to second in the championship.

Hayden: "We had a good battle today and I really enjoyed it. Everybody rode well and fought hard and nobody gave an inch. I'm not completely satisfied with third because this is a good track for me and I thought I had a shot at the win today, but I really enjoyed the battle. I'm proud to be going to Laguna leading the championship - we'll definitely be trying to get 25 more there."

Hayden, 2006 US MotoGP (pic: Gold&Goose).

Round 11 – US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca:
Qualifying: Vermeulen pole, Hayden 6th.
Race: Hayden 1st, Pedrosa 2nd, Melandri 3rd.
Championship: Hayden 1st, Pedrosa 2nd (-34 points), Melandri 3rd (-44 points), Rossi 4th (-51 points).

Under intense pressure and in searing heat, Hayden takes his second victory of the season and his second consecutive home win at Laguna Seca, while Rossi suffers terminal tyre and engine problems. Rossi's DNF leaves the Italian 51 points behind Hayden, who has now built his lead up to 34 points over Pedrosa.

Hayden: "I think this win feels better than last year, if that's possible! Last year was perfect and it all came pretty easy but this year I really had to work for it. At some races it doesn't pay off to be fit but today was so hot and really physical. So thanks to my trainer Aldon Baker - my life revolves around training and days like this make it worth it. It was really big for the championship today but there's a long way still to go and I've just got to stay healthy and go for some more wins."

Hayden, 2006 Czech MotoGP (pic: Gold&Goose).

Round 12 – Czech Republic Grand Prix at Brno:
Qualifying: Rossi pole, Hayden 4th.
Race: Capirossi 1st, Rossi 2nd, Pedrosa 3rd. Hayden 9th.
Championship: Hayden 1st, Pedrosa 2nd (-25 points), Rossi 3rd (-38 points).

The first race after the summer break sees Hayden suffer badly from clutch and tyre problems, leaving the Kentuckian to suffer his worst finish of the season.

Hayden: "I was going pretty good for the first part of the race. I made a good start and was feeling comfortable running in third. But the result's frustrating and we had a few little issues in the race with the clutch and the rear tyre - I'm not going to dwell on it though. One week you win and the next you're ninth - that's the level of the competition in MotoGP. I knew it was going to be hard work but we'll put in a couple of days testing and we'll come back fighting for the next race."

Pedrosa, Capirossi, Rossi, Hayden 2006 Malaysian MotoGP (pic: Gold&Goose).

Round 13 – Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang:
Qualifying: Rossi pole, Hayden 2nd.
Race: Rossi 1st, Capirossi 2nd, Pedrosa 3rd, Hayden 4th.
Championship: Hayden 1st, Pedrosa 2nd (-22 points), Rossi 3rd (-26 points).

Hayden bounces back from his Brno troubles by qualifying second to Rossi at Sepang, but slips to fourth on race day - while Rossi wins his fifth and final race of the year to close to within 26 points of the title lead.

Hayden: "It was a frustrating race because we didn't have quite enough speed today. I felt like I rode my hardest and for that I'm proud, but at this level sometimes that isn't good enough. I've got no excuses - the bike, the set-up and the tyres were pretty good, but we couldn't quite go at their speed. We'll keep fighting though - there's four races to go and some tracks that I really like coming up."

Hayden 2006 Australian MotoGP (pic: Gold&Goose).

Round 14 – Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island:
Qualifying: Hayden pole.
Race: Melandri 1st, Vermeulen 2nd, Rossi 3rd. Hayden 5th.
Championship: Hayden 1st, Rossi 2nd (-21 points), Melandri 3rd (-32 points).

Hayden takes pole position but suffers a terrible start, again related to the season long clutch problems, but puts in a brilliant come-back ride and battles almost race-long with Rossi, who escapes punishment after overtaking under a yellow flag. Melandri wins the first ever 'bike swap' MotoGP, but third for Rossi puts him second in the championship and within one race win of the title lead - with three rounds to go.

Hayden: "What a wild race! I had some problems getting off the line and I was just getting eaten up and losing positions at the beginning. Then it started to rain, we came in and switched bikes and it was actually really good fun. I got Rossi, he got me back and it was looking ok until he got Sete in between us which was not great, but we're still holding on with three races to go and we'll just roll into Motegi and keep fighting."

Rossi, Hayden 2006 Japanese MotoGP (pic: Gold&Goose).

Round 15 – Japan Grand Prix at Motegi:
Qualifying: Capirossi pole, Hayden 7th.
Race: Capirossi 1st, Rossi 2nd, Melandri 3rd. Hayden 5th.
Championship: Hayden 1st, Rossi 2nd (-12 points), Melandri (-27 points).

The pressure is on as Hayden struggles at Honda's home track, qualifying seventh and finishing just fifth in a race won by Capirossi. Rossi's claims second and is now just 12-points behind Hayden with 50-points still up for grabs.

Hayden: "Lap one was pretty wild and luckily in the first couple of corners I made up a lot of positions because my start was a bit of a disaster. I actually got hit by another rider on the first lap and bent the clutch lever up which didn't help. I tried to come through the pack but it's hard - you're coming past fast guys and in this class it's really tough."

Hayden, Pedrosa 2006 Portuguese MotoGP (pic: Gold&Goose).

Round 16 – Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril:
Qualifying: Rossi pole, Hayden 3rd.
Race: Elias 1st, Rossi 2nd, Roberts 3rd. Hayden DNF.
Championship: Rossi 1st, Hayden 2nd (- 8 points), Melandri 3rd (-27 points).

Hayden sees his title dream potentially shattered by team-mate Pedrosa when the young Spaniard takes them both out, destroying Hayden's championship lead as Nicky suffers his first and only DNF of the year. Rossi is denied the full 25 points by Toni Elias, but still takes a comfortable eight-point lead into the Valencia season finale. Hayden and Pedrosa battle with the leaders before Pedrosa falls and takes Hayden

Hayden: "I don't know what to say really - it just hurts. I couldn't believe how comfortable I felt in the first few laps and I felt I could go and see what Valentino had. I've proved this weekend that I wasn't going to give up without a fight and even now I believe I'm pretty strong. This was not one of my best tracks and I've come here and gone quick - I was fastest in one session, got on the front row and had a good race pace. I need Dani's help now because anything could happen in Valencia. I told him there's a way to make it up to me and that's if we run one-two in Valencia then the championship's still possible."

Rossi congratulates Hayden on world championship victory, 2006 Valencia MotoGP (pic: Gold&Goose).

Round 17 – Valencia Grand Prix at Valencia:
Qualifying: Rossi pole, Hayden 5th.
Race: Bayliss 1st, Capirossi 2nd, Hayden 3rd.
Championship: Hayden 1st, Rossi 2nd (-5 points), Capirossi 3rd (-23 points).

Hayden overcomes the odds and overturns Rossi's title advantage to become the first rider to beat Rossi to a world championship since Kenny Roberts in 2000. Rossi had started the race from pole position, but suffered a bad start - then fell on lap five, rejoining at the back of the pack. Hayden had no such problems, charging up the order before being handed second place by Pedrosa, who then attempts to hold back the chasing pack.

With Rossi unable to rise higher than 13th, an emotional Hayden settles for third behind Troy Bayliss and team-mate Capirossi - handing the former AMA Superbike champion his first world title and Honda its first premier-class crown since Rossi's last season on an RCV in 2003.

Hayden: "When you dedicate your life to something and the dream comes true it feels so good. This is a proud day for me, the team and my family. I want to thank everybody back home and I hope they're partying back there in Owensboro. When I went down at the beginning of the Estoril race I thought the dream was over but I just didn't give up. Anything can happen in racing and you just keep fighting until the end. I just believe good things happen to good people and this is a great day for me.

"I knew this was the chance of a lifetime and I had to go for it. I've felt all year that this was my year - even at Estoril when Elias beat Rossi I believed it. I knew that win or lose I was going to sleep well tonight because I was gonna give it my all today. I got a good start and I was just fighting to get to the front in the first few laps.

"I saw some marks on the track and then I came round and my pit-board said "Rossi P19". Then it went to P17, P15 and P14 and it was a tough situation because I knew there was probably going to be a couple of riders pull over for him. And I knew that you can never count Valentino out - if his bike was ok then he can make up a lot of positions in a hurry.

"I didn't know if I was going to have to fight the guys ahead of me because if you get in a dogfight with Loris and Troy you know you're going to take some chances. But I stayed close enough that I felt like I was going to be able to go for it if I needed to. Then I saw "P3 OK" on my pit-board and I had faith in my team that they had figured it out that I was safe. Then I just tried to be smooth and tried to be smooth. Honestly I didn't know it was over until the chequered flag. It feels really good to beat a guy like Rossi because he's a real competitor with seven world titles and that just makes it that much more rewarding."

By Peter McLaren



Tagged as: 2006 , hayden

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CS46

May 23, 2017 1:40 PM

A true black day for the followers of the sport. I deeply saddened to learn that we will not have Nicky around, not just racing bikes but him being around to be a good ambassador of the sport. In all of the not so good things around racing, we were able to look upto you and respected you in the manner in which you carried yourself. A true gentleman of the Sport. You will be remembered for all the right reasons and young riders will look up to you, to emulate you in the pinnacle of racing. Learning to carry their acts in a respected manner. You will be in our thoughts till racing exists. RIP #69.

1MoreRound

May 24, 2017 12:30 AM

This guy was one of the rare few that could exist on the world stage of motorcycling, and win, yet maintain the good- natured, humble demeanor of someone that was just as approachable as the common man... RIP NH69. FWIW... he lived a life the vast majority could only dream about. That was an amazing time spent on Earth! A moto-legend that won't be forgotten.



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