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Nicky Hayden Sport Career and Biography - 2006 MotoGP World Champion Tribute

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  1. Date of birth: July 30th, 1981
  2. Place of birth: Owensboro, Kentucky, USA
  3. Mother's Name: Rose
  4. Father's Name: Earl
  5. Names of brothers and sisters: Tommy, Roger Lee Kathleen y Jenny
  6. First contest: 1986, Dirt Track. Five years of age
  7. First AMA National podium: 1998, 600cc Supersport, Willow Springs, USA
  8. Total AMA National podiums: 35, 5 in the 750cc Supersport Series, 7 in Formula Xtreme, 6 in 600cc Supersport and 17 in Superbikes
  9. AMA National Championship titles: 2, 1 in 600 Supersport 1999 and 1 in Superbikes 2002.
  10. Total MotoGP podium finishes: 20, 2 in 2003, 2 in 2004, 6 in 2005 and 10 in 2006
  11. MotoGP victories: 3, 2005 USA GP, 2006 Dutch GP, 2006 USA GP.
  12. Total Poles: 4
  13. Fastest Race Laps: 4
  14. 1998: 4th AMA 750 Supersport Series
  15. 1998: 4th AMA 600 Supersport Series
  16. 1999: AMA 600 Supersport Champion
  17. 1999: 2nd AMA Formula Xtreme Series, Rookie of the Year AMA Dirt Track, Speedvision Professional Sportsmen of the Year
  18. 2000: 2nd AMA Superbikes
  19. 4th AMA Pro Honda 600 Supersport Series
  20. 2001: 3rd AMA Superbikes
  21. 2002: AMA Superbike Champion
  22. 2003: 5th MotoGP World Championship
  23. 2004: 8th MotoGP World Championship
  24. 2005: 3rd MotoGP World Championship
  25. 2006: MotoGP World Champion
  26. The young North American Superbike champion, Nicky Hayden made his MotoGP World Championship debut in Suzuka at the Japanese Grand Prix. 22-year-old Hayden was born in Owensboro, Kentucky and is contesting the MotoGP class after having been crowned in his country as the youngest winner of the American Superbike Championship AMA, on a Honda SP-2.

    2002 US Superbike champion Nicky Hayden is part of a new wave of American road racing talent to arrive in MotoGP. Throughout the eighties and early nineties GP racing's premier championship was mostly ruled by Americans - legends like Wayne Rainey, Kevin Schwantz, Eddie Lawson, John Kocinski and Freddie Spencer.

    Like those heroes before him, Hayden has been involved in motorcycles all his life. His father was a pro dirt tracker, famously using the number 69 because he wanted his bike to be identifiable "whether it was right way up or upside down", and both his mother and elder sister contested so-called 'powder-puff' ladies' events. Nowadays Hayden and both his brothers race, elder brother Tommy and younger brother Roger Lee currently competing at the highest level in America. Indeed his proudest moment so far is the family's remarkable one-two-three result at one of the Grand National dirt track events some years ago. The siblings monopolised the podium at Springfield, Tennessee - Nicky first, Tommy second and Roger Lee third - ahead of the nation's best dirt trackers, including Jay Springsteen and Chris Carr.

    Soft-spoken, polite and quick with a smile, Hayden is a laidback youngster with a tough racetrack streak who chooses bike riding (he owns a full stable of Honda dirt bikes plus a CBR600 streetbike), driving his Hummer jeep, hanging out with friends and music - from rock to rap - for his off-track fun.

    Hayden rode a motorcycle for the first time when he was just three years old. From then on the Hayden clan went to the racetrack like other families go to the park, Nicky commencing his racing career at the tender age of four. At first he raced dirt track, the discipline that honed the bike-control talents of Spencer, Rainey et al. These, after all, were the men who inspired Hayden - his whole family would crowd around the television to watch them racing GPs in Europe. He later graduated to Harley dirt trackers and much later to Honda dirt tools, some years after he'd quit full-time dirt track at the age of 13 to further his roadrace career. Hayden rode his first roadrace aged 11, again on minibikes, and realised that this was the way he wanted to go.

    After turning pro at 16, he rode his first full AMA (American Motorcyclists Association) season in 1998, demonstrating his innate talent by taking fourth overall in the Supersport series. The following summer he became America's youngest-ever 600 Supersport champ, using a CBR600 to win a season-long brawl with his big brother. That year he also finished second to Erion Racing team-mate Kurtis Roberts in the Formula Xtreme series and still found the time to compete in 12 of 18 Grand National dirt track events, claiming the Dirt Track Rookie of the Year award. He also got his first go at Superbike, substituting for injured Honda factory RC45 rider Miguel Duhamel, and completed a sensational season with his first Superbike podium at Fountain, Colorado.

    Signed to Honda America for 2000, Hayden quickly justified his new employer's faith by winning his first Superbike victory at June's Road Atlanta round, and he won again at Laguna and Willow Springs to end his debut big-bike season second overall, just five points behind the experienced Mat Mladin. And yet Hayden had a difficult start to 2002, when he was favourite to topple Mladin, rebounding a few months later to win the year's final four races on his SP-1.

    Hayden clinched his first success in the prestigious Daytona 200. All in all he won nine of 2002's 16 rounds, securing America's biggest motorcycling championship at Virginia in August. At just 21 years and two weeks old he had become the youngest champ in the 27-year history of the US Superbike series. And his outstanding win rate - 17 victories in just two seasons - made him the country's third most successful Superbike rider, behind fellow Honda heroes Fred Merkel and Duhamel. Such statistics mark Hayden as an exceptional racing force, so it was no great surprise when the Honda Racing Corporation announced that the youngster would be joining the factory's MotoGP line up for the 2003 season.

    Hayden, who includes weights, bicycles and dirt track in his training regime, thus raced his first season outside America in 2003. It wasn't easy for the young North American rider, having to adapt to the highly contended MotoGP class. And although his times were far behind the top times during the preseason tests, Hayden started an impressive progression after only a few races that took him to clinch two podium finishes at the end of the season - Pacific and Australia - and to finish fifth overall ahead of much more experienced riders.

    Nicky Hayden started the 2004 season knowing that his adaptation time had finished. However the young Kentucky rider suffered an additional pressure due to Honda's lack of course and his best results were two third places in a row in Brazil and Germany. But there were several misfortunes: the replacement of his suspensions engineer, a whole in the radiator during the Catalan GP, a crash during the first part in Mugello... It was also a hard year due to injuries. After the Czech Grand Prix, and while practising Supermotard in Italy he fractured his collarbone and had to undergo surgery, in addition to injured knee ligaments. He wasn't able to race the following GP, Portugal, and when he reappeared in Motegi, luck turned away from him once again and he was involved in a multiple crash right in the first corner. Physically and morally dampened, the 2003 rookie of the tear finished the championship in eighth position.

    In 2005, the young 25-year-old rider consolidated his place among the elite of the premier class. After an average first part of the season, Hayden made good use of his chance when the Championship returned to his home-country, taking his first victory in the World Championship in Laguna Seca. After that success, the Kentucky born rider stepped again on the podium in Germany and fought several times for the victory during the final sprint of the Championship. Together with Marco Melandri, they were two of the few riders to stand up to the defending World Champion Valentino Rossi. In his battle against the two Italians, Hayden was back on the podium in the last four rounds: Qatar, Australia, Turkey and Valencia, and finished the season in a meritorious third place.

    In 2006 Hayden faced the season with the difficult challenge of being the number 1 rider at Honda and responsible for the evolution of the machine with which the Japanese make would fight for the title. The aim for the 2006 season was clear: fighting for the victory in the MotoGP World Championship. Hayden started the season with four consecutive podium finishes and took the lead of the overall standings after finishing third in the Turkish Grand Prix, and he didn't leave that position until the ill-fated Portuguese Grand Prix, after which Valentino Rossi took over the leadership with an advantage of 8 points in the overall standings. There were 25 points still at stake and in Valencia, rounding up a perfect weekend for both Nicky Hayden and the Repsol Honda Team, the North American rider became 2006 MotoGP World Champion after scoring two victories in the season - Holland and the USA -, 8 podium finishes and a final advantage of 5 points over second classified rider Valentino Rossi. Nicky Hayden, 2006 MotoGP World Champion.