2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden has been elected by Honda to partner Michael Van Der Mark aboard the CBR1000RR in the 2016 World Superbikes Championships The Kentucky Kid as Nicky is fondly called retired from MotoGP at the end of 2015 Season after 12 years in the World Championships that has seen him race the Honda RC213V and the Ducati Desmosedici with the former earning him the much coveted MotoGP World Championship trophy in 2006.
The 34-year-old American has started over 200 Grands Prix, stood 28 times on the podium and won three Grand Prixs with his first victory at his home Grand Prix at Laguna Seca in 2005.
The 2006 MotoGP™ World Champion Nicky Hayden was inducted into the World Championship Hall of Fame as the 22nd MotoGP™ Legend by Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta in a ceremony held at the final round of the 2015 season in Va
Hayden won the AMA Supersport series with Honda in 1999, progressed to AMA Superbike in 2000. Nicky Hayden became the youngest ever AMA Superbike champion, taking Honda’s VTR1000SP (RC51) to victory in 2002 at the age of 21. Hayden is relishing a return to his superbike roots in 2016 and to continuing his racing career with Honda in the production-based World Superbike championship. Ultimate success in the series would make him the first rider to win both MotoGP and WSBK titles.
Nicky’s team mate in the 2016 WorldSBK series is Michael van der Mark a daringly exciting and talented young rider. The 22-year-old Dutch rider has followed Honda’s rider development programme in winning both the 2012 European Superstock 600 series and last year’s World Supersport championship on Honda’s CBR600RR.
Van der Mark won back-to-back Suzuka 8 Hours races in Japan in 2013 and 2014 and has scored three podiums to date in his rookie World Superbike season on the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP with the final round coming up in Qatar on 18 October.
Nicky Hayden: “Well, my next stop is Superbike with Honda! I’m very excited, obviously, to stick with Honda; it’s where I’ve had the most success in my career. World Superbikes is a championship that I followed closely as a kid when a lot of American riders were fighting at the front. It just seems like the right time and the right team to go with. I know I’ve got a lot to learn and it’s going to be a big challenge, but also I’m very motivated to start and learn what I can. I’d like to say thanks to everyone who has supported me through my MotoGP career. We had a good run but now it’s time to move on and try something different.”
Michael van der Mark: “I’m really looking forward to 2016 already! This season we have made a lot of progress with the CBR and I think that taking my experience on the bike from every track will be a very good base to start from. We’ve really improved the bike even more over the last couple of rounds and that has put us close to the front, which is what we’ve been aiming for throughout the year. The next target of course is a victory but I think that in my second season on the CBR I can be confident that we can make some more podiums and fight for wins. I’m happy to hear that Nicky will be my team-mate next year and I think we’ll be able to learn a lot from each other during the season.”