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All about Nicky Hayden, 2006 MotoGP World Champion

All about Nicky Hayden,  2006 MotoGP World Champion

All about Nicky Hayden, 2006 MotoGP World Champion

Born in Kentucky and from a family with a strong name in US racing, the 2002 AMA Superbike Champion was a wanted man with various teams at only 21 years of age but took the hottest seat in the paddock next to the reigning World Champion, jumping straight into the MotoGP deep-end as team-mate to Valentino Rossi in the Repsol Honda factory team. The friendly and happy-go-lucky American took some time to find his feet but towards the end of his debut campaign began to show his potential with some electrifying race performances and two podiums in the last four GPs lifting him to an excellent fifth overall.

Hayden scored two consecutive podiums in Brazil and Germany in 2004, but his lack of consistency saw him ending up in eighth position overall. In 2005 his move to become official HRC rider coincided with the return of the World Championship to Laguna Seca. Hayden didn't squander the opportunity and led the race from start to finish to earn himself his first MotoGP victory. After that brilliant triumph he assumed a much more active role in the Championship. In the following nine Grands Prix he stepped onto the podium on five occasions and closed the season in third position overall.

In 2006, Hayden quickly got into the stride of the championship, taking seven podiums in the first eight races. The seventh of these was his first victory outside of the US, when he took advantage of a crash on the final lap to snatch the win. He soon was winning again at home once more, and looked on course for his first World Championship. The major blow came however in round 16 in Estoril when his team-mate Pedrosa collided with him and left him eight points behind Rossi. However Hayden came back strong and the 16 points in the final round coupled with Rossi's crash mean Hayden fulfilled his lifelong dream of success on an international scale in motorcycling's elite event.

Birth date: 30/07/1981 (25 years)
Birth place: : Owensboro, Kentucky (USA)
First Grand Prix: : 2003 JPN MotoGP
First Pole Position: 2005 USA MotoGP
First Podium: : 2003 MOT MotoGP
First GP Victory: : 2005 USA MotoGP
Grand Prix Starts: : 65
Grand Prix Victories: : 3
Podiums: : 20
Pole Positions: : 4
Race Fastest Lap: : 4
World Championship Win: : 1 - 2006 MotoGP
Total Points 2006: : 252

*all data correct at 29/10/2006

: MotoGP Career:

: 2003: : MotoGP World Championship, 5th position, Repsol Honda, Honda - 16 starts, 130 points
: MotoGP World Championship, 8th position, Repsol Honda Team, Honda - 15 starts, 117 points
2005: : MotoGP World Championship, 3rd position, Repsol Honda Team, Honda - 17 starts, 206 points
2006: : MotoGP World Championship, 1st position, Repsol Honda Team, Honda - 17 starts, 252 points.

Some facts about Hayden´s achievement :

- With the rules changing for next year Nicky Hayden goes into the record books as the only rider other than Rossi to win a title riding a 990cc four-stroke MotoGP bike.

- Nicky Hayden is the seventh rider from the USA to win the premier-class title, joining: Kenny Roberts, Freddie Spencer, Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey, Kevin Schwantz, and Kenny Roberts Jnr.

- He is only the second rider to have won the title having arrived at the final race of the year not leading the points table. The previous occasion was 1992 when Wayne Rainey arrived at the final race two points behind Mick Doohan who was still far from fully fit following a crash earlier in the year at Assen.

- He is the first rider since Mick Doohan to have won the premier-class title having not previously raced in the 250cc class of Grand Prix racing.


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