Nicky Hayden Honored at Road America with 69 Seconds of Silence

Yoshimura Suzuki's Roger Hayden rode a lap of honor for his late brother, the 2006 MotoGP world champion

MotoAmerica teams, riders, and fans gathered on Saturday at Road America for 69 seconds of silence to honor the late Nicky Hayden. The beloved 2002 AMA Superbike champion and 2006 MotoGP world champion collided with a car last month while cycling along the Rimini coastline in Italy and died from his injuries on Monday, May 22. Hayden, 35, was laid to rest one week later in his hometown of Owensboro, Kentucky.

Prior to the 69 seconds of silence, Roger Hayden rode a Suzuki GSX-R1000 for a lap of the 4.05-mile Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, circuit while carrying a large flag emblazoned with his older brother's number, 69. Upon his return to pit lane, the Yoshimura Suzuki rider was greeted by a standing ovation from a multitude of well-wishers that had formed in Victory Circle.

“We would like everyone to remember Nicky at his happiest—riding a motorcycle,” older brother Tommy Hayden said in a statement previously released by the family. “Nicky dreamed as a kid of being a pro rider and not only achieved that but also managed to reach the pinnacle of his chosen sport in becoming world champion."

motoamerica racers hold nicky hayden signature helmets
OWB crew: To honor their friend, brother, and cousin, MotoAmerica racers (from left) Jake Lewis, JD Beach, Roger Hayden, Nick McFadden, and Hayden Gillim wore replicas of Nicky Hayden's signature helmet this past weekend at Road America.Brian J. Nelson

Asked after Superbike Race 1 on Saturday afternoon if being at a racetrack is therapeutic, Hayden replied, “The only therapeutic part of being back at the track is while I am on my bike. I know everyone means well, but during the signings and pit party with the fans everyone keeps telling me they are sorry for my loss.

"I just want to focus and not think about it, but I wish Sunday night I could just thank everyone and talk to them for all of the support I have received. Nicky and my family are well liked and loved by a lot of people in the sport. I was worried coming into the weekend, not knowing how I would be, but I was able to block everything out on the track and put in a good run.”

Hayden finished third and second, respectively, in the Motul Superbike class doubleheader. With six rounds remaining in the series, the youngest of the three racing Haydens is third overall in the points standings. MotoAmerica returns to action in three weeks, June 23-25, at Utah Motorsports Campus in Tooele, Utah.

The Hayden family has established the Nicky Hayden Memorial Fund to help children in the Owensboro community.

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