2006 MotoGP world champ, Nicky Hayden is one of the last few old school racers who're still racing in MotoGP. We hope he wins a few more races before he retires...
To mark their 40th anniversary, Dainese will produce four digital magazines this year, one each of which will look at the people, events and products from the 1970s, 80s, 90s and 00s that have helped create the Dainese legend. In the first issue (which you can download from here), they have, among other things, carried an interesting interview with 2006 MotoGP world champion, Nicky Hayden. Here are some excerpts from what Nicky says:
On whether experience helps in MotoGP
Experience is a big help. As the years go on, you pick up little tricks here and there that help you on race day. They don’t necessarily help you to do one good lap but you so realise what helps you go the distance.
On the races he enjoys most
I enjoy racing all the tracks but of course I like racing the American rounds. Those are really special; Laguna Seca for the track and Indy is my home race. I also like the Italian races as they are home races for Ducati. Mugello is a great track and Misano has awesome atmosphere.
On pre-season training
The winter training months get more and more physical every year. The bikes get better so we start riding them harder and, with all the electronics, we are able to brake later and open the throttle earlier. The tyres also get better so you are able to lean ’em further. It definitely gets more and more physical so training is a big part of it. I get serious. I like to ride different forms of flat track when I can and also do strength training and cardio.
On technology and whether it makes riding MotoGP bikes any easier
Sometimes the technology makes things easier but it’s a lot more work for the team. The team have grown a lot in the last couple of years because you just need more guys. Before you had one or two computer guys, ’cause there was only so much stuff they could change. Now they can change so much more. I’m enjoying learning about the electronics, but sometimes it doesn’t make the bike any more fun to ride.
On his relationship with other MotoGP riders
My relationships are good. I don’t really have any big beef with any other riders but I don’t have any big friends I race against. It’s just kinda hard to be too buddy-buddy with the guy that you are on the line with on Sunday. There are some rivalries that people don’t let out, especially between team mates. Other ones are just fuelled by nonsense, like me and Dani. People think that we hate each other, but we’ve moved on from those days.
On the racers he looks up to
I’ve looked up to a lot. Some of the real old-school guys I’m not familiar with but the guys I’ve seen race, I admired and studied them. I was a big Bubba Shobert fan. He was a dirt track racer I looked up to. As far as road racing, I’d say Kenny Roberts. He was kinda the guy who opened up the gates for American riders when he came to Europe to chase the World Championships. Him and Gary Nixon, both some pretty big heroes of mine.
On what he loves most about motorcycles
Pretty much everything. I love the team work, the fans and I love riding a bike. People say, ‘You must love to go out on the street and the open road?’ Yeah, you know, that’s cool, but I like riding fast, riding the limit. I mean, when I’m at home riding with my brothers, we have stop watches and I like trying to get the most out of a bike. It’s hard for me to ride along at 35mph on a street and be a good boy, because I wanna wring that bike’s neck!
Source: Dainese Legends