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Hayden: "I have really enjoyed my time in MotoGP"

Hayden: 'I have really enjoyed my time in MotoGP'

Nicky Hayden talks about leaving MotoGP™ and switching to WorldSBK, looking back on some of his fondest memories...

With a lump in his throat and a tear in his eye, Nicky Hayden announced in MotoGP press conference that he would be leaving the series at the end of the 2015 season and switching to World Superbikes. It was an emotional press room at Motegi, where the fifteenth round of the current season is taking place this weekend. The Power Electronics Aspar Team rider shared the stage with the sport's top riders, including Valentino Rossi, who he pipped to the title in 2006.

It was a special moment for Hayden, thirteen years on from the day he arrived at motorcycle racing's top table as the AMA Superbike Champion. The American has flown his country's flag proudly for over a decade in MotoGP and now he will take it to World Superbikes to start a new challenge alongside Honda, the factory with whom he enjoyed his greatest success.

Best memories…

No doubt, the best memory of my MotoGP career is winning the title in 2006. Winning my home GP twice [in 2005 and 2006] at Laguna Seca was incredible but nothing compares to the feeling of being World Champion. I believed in my chances, fought hard to the end and it was my season.

The future…

I have been very fortunate in MotoGP, I have been lucky enough to have a long and successful career, competing for major factories and in the biggest teams. Now I have the opportunity to keep my connection with Honda and take on a new challenge. I am really motivated to head to Superbikes, which is where I came from and where everything started for me. Hopefully I can adapt quickly and enjoy myself.

Objectives…

It is too soon to talk about the future but my ultimate objective is to go to World Superbikes and win the title, to become the first rider ever to win both the MotoGP and World Superbike Championships. Anyway, let's not get carried away. First of all I need to get there and see how competitive I can be. The first season won't be easy, I will have to adapt, but I hope to be fighting at the front in 2017.

A fond farewell…

Yes, I want to thank everybody for the affection they have shown me. I have really enjoyed my time in MotoGP, I have had thirteen excellent years here and I achieved my dream of becoming World Champion. I would have liked to have won more races and been more successful but I put a star on my bike, competing at a very high level. This is a great paddock, full of excellent people, and I am lucky to have made a lot of friends here. MotoGP is in great shape right now, the championship is very competitive, the circuits are getting safer and the bikes are evolving. I think Dorna are doing a great job and thanks to them our sport is more popular and exciting than it ever has been. I am looking forward to seeing how the 2015 season finishes. I want to say thanks to all the fans who have followed me over the years and also thank all the teams I have worked with.

The last American…

I feel very proud of my background and of my success. It is a big thing to be the last American in MotoGP, I am passionate about motorcycles and that is a big part of why I have been around for so long. I have had factory contracts in the past and I have been able to make a good living. I could be at home with my feet up but I am still here, giving it my best shot every weekend. I love the sport, I love the fans and above all I love racing. I had the opportunity to take a role as a test rider but my objective was to keep racing.

Superbikes…

New challenges, new circuits, new rivals, new tyres... It is a long time since I raced a Superbike but I remember it and I guess that should make it easy to switch back. There is a lot to learn but that is a big motivation. I hope to have fun and achieve great results.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2015, MOTUL GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN, Nicky Hayden, Aspar MotoGP Team

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