Nicky Hayden On Track at Indy

"Owensboro is going to be relocating that weekend..."


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Former MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden christened the new roadcourse at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week, lapping the 16-turn, 2.620-mile on a 1909 Indian—the same machine that won the first motor race at the Speedway in 1909—and later aboard a customized Honda CBR1000RR.

"It was pretty unique and quite an honor to be the first guy around the new track here at the famous Speedway," he said. "It was exciting to be here and be a part of it."

Hailing from Owensboro, Kentucky, just three hours south of Indianapolis, Hayden was dressed in period gear—a leather helmet, goggles, blue-and-green sweater with "Indianapolis Speedway" sewn in script on the front and back, knickers and knee-high leather riding boots—for his spin on the restored twin-cylinder machine. He reached an estimated top speed of 40 mph."When they first fired it up, I thought, 'Man, what did I get myself into here?'" Hayden said. "But it was really cool. Those guys were men; I can’t imagine racing that bike around here."

After changing into his Arai helmet and Alpinestars leathers, he hopped on the track-prepped CBR for several laps. He topped 150 mph on the front straightaway, later estimating that his factory Repsol Honda RC212V would likely see 200 mph on the same portion of the track during the Red Bull Indianapolis GP, scheduled for September 12-14.

"When I saw the track map, I didn't realize how quick the front straightaway is," he said. "You're going to need some ponies."