Owen was a guest in the MotoGP paddock on the eve of practice for the British Grand Prix, and together with Hayden, launched a new Tissot watch collection.

"What a great sport, everybody is so friendly and what really impressed me was that the fans could get so near the riders and the action," said Owen. "Nicky gave me a few hints about riding a bike and I gave him a pair of my boots but I think I'll stick to football - it's safer."

American Hayden was the perfect host for Owen, the Repsol Honda rider showed the Newcastle United footballer around the finer details of his RC212V before the duo took to the stage of the Riders for Health auction, where they recouped over 5,000 pounds for the charity.

"Michael gave me a pair of his white football boots but I think I'll stick to two wheels although I will certainly look smart wearing them," said Hayden, whose place at the top of the point standings has been taken by Casey Stoner this season.

The Australian arrived at Donington with a 14 point lead over Valentino Rossi. Just seven years ago Stoner rode his very first race bike at the track, when he was just 14 years old, then made his grand prix debut at Donington a year later.

"Donington and England have very special memories for me after we sold up and came over because I was too young to ride in Australia," recalled the Ducati rider. "I've had mixed fortunes at the track but it should be a great race on Sunday and I only dreamed seven years ago that I would return leading the world championship."

First practice for the British Grand Prix starts on Friday morning.