Moments after Nicky Hayden announced the end of his MotoGP career, former team-mate Valentino Rossi offered his best wishes to the American racer.
Hayden, who is moving to World Superbike with Ten Kate Honda, joined MotoGP alongside Rossi at the Repsol Honda team in 2003. The pair were later reunited at Ducati in 2011 and 2012.
“It is a great shame for MotoGP to lose Nicky because he is a great rider but also a great guy. It's always good fun to share time with Nicky,” said Rossi, currently fighting for a tenth grand prix title.
“I have a lot of great memories and maybe I was the first to see Nicky when he arrived in Japan, for his first test with Honda.”
The highlight of Hayden's career came when he overturned Rossi's championship advantage to snatch the 2006 title at the Valencia finale (pictured).
“I'm part of the best moment in his career because he beat me at the last race and became world champion,” Rossi confirmed. “For sure we will miss him a lot, but I hope he can enjoy Superbike and I hope that the Honda is strong, because I hope to see him on the podium and fight for the victory.”
No rider has yet won the MotoGP and World Superbike titles.