Hayden and Honda split official, no love lost

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Nicky-HAYDEN-HRC-01.jpgPhotos: MotoGP

Nicky Hayden has finally said in an interview what everybody already knew- that he would be leaving Honda at the end of the 2008 MotoGP season. While he has yet to go on record concerning his contract with Ducati for next season, what little he is saying about his relationship with HRC hints at a very nasty relationship. As the split has grown more official, so has Nicky’s boldness for speaking out concerning his increasingly negligent treatment by HRC over the course of his career with the factory Honda team in MotoGP.

Update: Nicky has officially joined Casey Stoner at Ducati for the 2009 season.
>Famous for downplaying his ability in deferment of the either HRC or the RCV212V, the Kentucky Kid is changing his tune and gave a surprisingly telling opinion recently on the HRC outfit. “I really want to feel again like a teammate, I mean to be in a team where everyone works in the same direction and shares information. I can’t wait for that moment to come.”

At his press conference yesterday in Indianapolis, not only did Hayden make the split official, he threw in his strongest criticisms to date. Referring to Pedrosa’s mid-season switch to Bridgestone, Hayden stated, “Obviously there will now be a wall down the middle of the pit-box, but to be honest there was already a bit of a wall there.”

The best dig came however while quelling rumors of a mid-season departure, with Nicky saying “There are probably people in that box that if I didn’t show up would probably never notice!” Ouch. Sadly, we have to agree and don’t expect HRC to bother responding to his comment.

Nicky-HAYDEN-HRC-02.jpgFrankly, we’re really excited to see Hayden move away from a team that we feel always considered him a secondary rider. While that dismissive corporate behavior was acceptable during the Rossi/HRC era, HRC clearly cared more for developing the diminutive 2007 RC212V to Pedrosa’s wants even whilst Hayden was in the process of being the first rider to wrest the title from Valentino Rossi in half a decade.

We’ll see how Ducati fairs in 2009 with two consecutive World Champions for a factory team. To Honda’s detriment, we’re guessing they’ll do mighty fine.

  • Brian

    I cannot wait to see Nicky on a Ducati. We (my wife and I) had the pleasure of speaking to Earl Hayden at this past AMA Road Atlanta race and you could see and hear it when I asked him about Nicky’s predicament. He didn’t say that he was leaving, but you could tell is was a distinct possibility and that it might be announced at or after Indy.

    This comment is for Honda….great looking bikes, great performing street bikes, but when will you learn that part of why we buy bikes (as consumers) is the “who else is riding/racing” them. Thanks HRC for helping make up my mind about my new bike….848 here I come!

    Go kick some ass next year Nicky! Show the rest of the world what the U.S. and Kentucky can do with the right equipment.

  • Si

    “Hayden was in the process of being the first rider to wrest the title from Valentino Rossi in half a decade.” I think wrestling is strong term considering he only won one race that year. Perhaps HRC are looking for a champion that can be better than consistently in the points?

  • William

    HRC messes the bed once again. I truly wish more people would pay attention to the antics of Honda Racing. I can only imagine the outcry had this been Rossi just a few years back. The sport has grown by leaps and bounds, I can only wish HRC miserable failure for their treatment of their riders.

  • joonil

    si, i believe nicky won 2 races in 2006, assen and laguna. but your point still stands, though i don’t necessarily agree with it.