After suffering through the beginning half of the 2014 season with major pain and limited motion in his right wrist caused by lingering effects of a crash back at the 2013 Indy MotoGP race, Nicky Hayden finally decided to try and fix the problem with a surgical procedure in July. The Kentucky Kid ended up with basically two choices for surgery: fusion of the wrist joint that would limit its mobility (and likely force retirement, as it did for James Toseland) or undergo a relatively new and risky type of wrist surgery called "proximal row carpectomy with radial styloidectomy" that involved removal of three bones in his wrist in order to decrease pain and hopefully increase mobility within the joint. After spending several weeks carefully recuperating and undergoing constant therapy on his wrist, Hayden returned at the Aragon GP in September and was optimistic about his recovery. But the real test would be the winter break that would give his wrist a chance to rest, and then coming back to the first Sepang MotoGP test happening this week.
Hayden also gained the use of the new RC213V-RS for 2015, Honda's answer to the Open Class Yamahas that turned out to be little more than the previous year's factory machines, causing much consternation in the HRC camp. With an updated engine featuring pneumatic valves and some 35-40 more horsepower, Hayden was impressed at the post-race Valencia test in November, but Sepang will give he and the Drive M7 Aspar crew the opportunity to really explore the bike's potential.
We caught up to Hayden in Sepang to get his thoughts on his wrist recovery, the RC213V-RS, the competition, the Sepang test, and everything else. The former MotoGP world champion gives Sport Rider fans his view on all that in the video below: