MotoGP: Nicky Hayden back to Repsol Honda

American to substitute for injured Dani Pedrosa at Phillip Island, returns to the team that he started in MotoGP with 13 years ago

motogp, nicky hayden, phillip island, dani pedrosa injured, repsol honda
American Nicky Hayden will replace Dani Pedrosa as a substitute rider at the upcoming Phillip Island round of the MotoGP World Championship. It marks a return for the current WSBK contender to the team he started with in MotoGP 13 years ago.Photo courtesy of Honda Pro Racing

American Nicky Hayden will return to the team he began his MotoGP career with 13 years ago when he gets the opportunity to substitute for the injured Dani Pedrosa at the upcoming Phillip Island round of the MotoGP World Championship this weekend. Hayden's entry into MotoGP began with the Repsol Honda team back in '03 as teammate to Valentino Rossi, and the American managed to win the MotoGP world title in '06. The current World Superbike Honda rider got the call to replace Pedrosa and is looking forward to riding the factory RC213V at a circuit he definitely likes.

“First of all my best wishes to Dani, I’m sure he will come back stronger than ever like he always does," said Hayden after getting the call. The Kentucky Kid got the opportunity for another substitute ride earlier this year when he replaced the injured Jack Miller at Aragon, but getting to ride on the factory Repsol Honda team is a completely different story. It marks an poignant return to the team that he began his long MotoGP career with, and even though most of the team members he knew have since moved on, it still carries significant emotions for him. "For me, it’s crazy hard work, but it’s a chance, ten year after winning my World Title, to get back to my old 'dream team'. Doing a weekend in Phillip Island on a factory Honda, it’s pretty emotional for me to even think about it, and I’m very grateful for this opportunity and the trust that Honda gives me."

"I’m excited to get on a plane, to get down to Phillip Island, and hopefully I can do a good job for the team. Regarding Phillip Island there are two things to always consider: the weather and the tires. But it’s a track I love, and I can’t wait to ride the bike there. Let’s get started on Friday morning and go forward."

Meanwhile, Pedrosa continues his recovery after suffering a broken collarbone in a nasty highside crash during practice for last weekend's Japanese MotoGP race at Motegi. The Spaniard immediately flew back home to have the collarbone plated, and hopes to return for the season finale at Valencia near his hometown next month. "I felt a strong pain for a few days after the operation, but things are starting to get a little bit better now. I left the hospital and I have a check-up scheduled for Wednesday. Only after that will I have a better idea about the recovery time and about when I’ll be able to get back on my bike," said Pedrosa.