The 2006 MotoGP World Champion, Nicky Hayden, will make a one-race return to the series and team with which he won that title, Repsol Honda, at this weekend’s MotoGP round at Phillip Island in Australia.
Hayden will deputize for Dani Pedrosa, who fractured his right collarbone last week in Motegi, Japan. Hiroshi Ayoma, Honda’s test rider, filled in at a moment’s notice, but struggled to 15th.
For Hayden, it’s a return to the team he raced through from 2003 to 2008, and a chance to race alongside three-time MotoGP and five-time overall champion Marc Marquez. He had a break in the World Superbike schedule this weekend and was thus available to fill-in for Pedrosa.
“First of all my best wishes to Dani, I’m sure he will come back stronger than ever like he always does,” Hayden said. “For me it’s crazy hard work but it’s a chance, ten year after winning my World Title, to get back to my old “dream team!”
“Doing a weekend in Phillip Island on a factory Honda, it’s pretty emotional for me to even think about it, and I’m very grateful for this opportunity and the trust that Honda gives me. I want also to thank my current team for allowing me to go and do this, and the sponsors. Everybody worked a lot on every detail to make it possible for me so now I’m excited to get on a plane, to get down to Phillip Island and hopefully I can do a good job for the team.
“Regarding Phillip Island there are two things to always consider, the weather and the tires, but it’s a track I love and I can’t wait to ride the bike there. Let’s get started on Friday morning and go forward.”
Pedrosa, who will have a further medical check on Wednesday, is out indefinitely but wished Hayden the best for the opportunity.
“I felt a strong pain for a few days after the operation, but things are starting to get a little bit better now,” he said. “I left the hospital and I have a check-up scheduled for Wednesday. Only after that will I have a better idea about the recovery time and about when I’ll be able to get back on my bike. I wish also to congratulate Marc and Honda for the title achievement.”