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Nicky Hayden Comes Home to Laguna Seca This Weekend

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We don’t know how many laps Nicky Hayden has ridden around the Laguna Seca race track here in California, but it has to be an awful lot. When he raced full-time here in the United States as a younger man, he certainly tested at the venue relatively often in addition to racing there. When he switched to the MotoGP championship, he also raced at Laguna Seca for several years before the venue was dropped by that championship.

This weekend, Hayden is back at Laguna Seca to race a round of the 2016 WSB series where he currently sits in sixth position in the championship. Hayden actually won a wet race in Sepang earlier this year, but generally has been uncompetitive with the factory Kawasakis and Ducatis on dry tracks. Nevertheless, expect Hayden to give his best to put on a show for his home crowd this weekend.  Here is a press release from his team:

The Honda WorldSBK duo of Nicky Hayden and Michael van der Mark are ready to take on the ninth round of the 2016 FIM Superbike World Championship, which takes place this weekend at the legendary 3.610km Laguna Seca Raceway near Monterey, California. This is the last WorldSBK event before a two-month break for the series, which builds even greater excitement for what is an already highly anticipated racing weekend for teams, riders and fans.

Former AMA and MotoGP race winner at Laguna Nicky Hayden is looking forward to attacking the ‘Corkscrew’ for the first time since 2013, that same year when the circuit hosted its last MotoGP event as well as the returning round of the World Superbike Championship. In fact, it was the Californian track that witnessed Hayden’s WorldSBK debut in 2002, as the-then 20-year-old had a successful wildcard appearance on board Team American Honda’s RC51 machine. His debut World Superbike encounter ended up with a fourth-place finish, only half a second away from Colin Edwards in third.

After returning to the podium in race one at Misano three weekends ago, Michael van der Mark is aiming to continue in the same vein in America. The 23-year-old from Rotterdam in the Netherlands has only raced once before at Laguna Seca and has a 7th place finish as his best result. Van der Mark is now eager to put last year’s experience to good use and to make the most of the vastly improved Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP around the spectacular American circuit.

Nicky Hayden 69

It’s been a few years since I got the chance to ride at Laguna, so I can’t wait to drop down the Corkscrew again and ride at such a great track. The atmosphere there has always been amazing and there’s definitely a great vibe. I’m looking forward to it; I know people are expecting a lot from me, but I have to be realistic and know what our pace has been in dry races. It won’t be easy to battle with the British guys, who at the moment are kind of dominating, but we’ll go there and give it our absolute best shot. We’ll try to have some fun and most importantly get some results that me, my fans and the team can be happy about.

Michael van der Mark 60

After our podium in Misano it looks like we’re finally back to our early season form. The post-round test there was also good for us and allowed us to try many different things. So I now hope we can keep the momentum going at Laguna Seca: my goal is the top 5 and, if we can get back on the podium before the summer break, it surely would be an amazing thing for us. I just can’t wait to go out on track because I really enjoy riding at Laguna Seca; the circuit is amazing and so are the fans. Let’s hope we can make them proud this weekend!

Pieter Breddels
Technical Manager

We are ready to take on the American round at Laguna Seca, an important event for us given it’s Nicky’s home race. His presence is surely going to add extra interest to the event, and I’m sure there will be many of his fans there to cheer him on. At Misano, Nicky missed out on an opportunity for a great result, but his pace was there, so our hope is that he will be able to fight for a podium this weekend. Michael didn’t qualify too well but was able to show good speed in the races, so overall we’re happy that both riders are on pace. We will have a new software upgrade for our electronics package at this round which, combined with the things we tried during Misano’s test, will hopefully allow us to be nearer the sharp end of the field.


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9 Comments

  1. Big Al says:

    “We’ll try to have some fun…”

    I am now, a reluctant Haydon fan.

    I had a 2000 RC51. An absolute race bike.

  2. stinkywheels says:

    No matter the result, it’ll be good to see him back. I’m sure he’ll ride the wheels off that backmarker bike. It’s a good machine, not a great machine. Let’s see what a great rider on a good bike can do. He’s a class act. Too bad he’s not on a Ducati. I’d love to see an American on a Vtwin.

  3. -D says:

    Go get em nasty like #69!…

  4. bipedal says:

    Great memories of the 2005 lap of Nicky with his father Earl riding pillion in celebration of his win! Do it again Nicky !!!!
    I can not be there this year due to health issues but I will be watching on TV.
    GO NICKY

  5. redbirds says:

    Nicky has shown his mastery of this track in the past and I hope we’ll see it again this race. Best wishes Nicky!

  6. Pacer says:

    Watched him win the 05 MotoGP race. The one and only time I’ve been there. That was a great weekend.

    • Pacer says:

      Oh yeah, show them you can win on this bike in the dry before you win on the new one next year.

  7. CB says:

    Go get’em Nicky….

  8. ApriliaRST says:

    Let’s all hope Nicky does well and makes us proud. Best wishes to a great racer.