“It is a real honour”
2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden today began the build-up to the first-ever Indianapolis MotoGP event by riding a vintage Indian motorcycle around the legendary Brick Yard racetrack, which now features a new layout for motorcycles.
Repsol Honda rider, one of seven Americans to have worn motorcycling's biggest crown, got fully into the part, wearing authentic vintage helmet and leathers. The Indian machine, which took part in the first Indy bike race in 1909, certainly impressed the Kentucky Kid.
“When the bike first fired up I wondered what I'd got myself into!”, said Hayden, one of those riders who has a lot of respect for racing history. “Then when I was doing about 40mph down the straight it felt like a hundred. I really enjoyed the ride though, especially my old school helmet, that was my favourite part. “It is a real honour to be the first rider to lap the new Indy track and I can't wait to get out there on a MotoGP bike in September. I expect most of my hometown of Owensboro, Kentucky, to be there. They may have to close the town down that day.”
Hayden later rode a Honda CBR1000RR around the 4.216km/2.618 mile circuit, designed specifically for MotoGP, at more 21st century speeds.
When he arrives at Estoril for this weekend's Portuguese Grand Prix he will report his findings to the MotoGP safety commission, which looks after rider safety at all MotoGP events. During his visit to the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Hayden also took a look around the IMS Hall of Fame Museum.
The Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix takes place on September 12/13/14, two months after the US GP at Laguna Seca, California. Indy is the third American track to host a motorcycle GP, after Laguna and Florida venue Daytona. Hayden won the 2005 and 2006 US GPs at Laguna aboard his Repsol Honda RC211V.