The Repsol Honda Team have confirmed that 2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden will replace the injured Dani Pedrosa this weekend for the Australian Grand Prix.
Pedrosa suffered a huge high-side crash during FP2 at the Twin Ring Motegi, fracturing his collarbone as a result. He was flown back to Spain for the 14th major surgery of his career, his participation in the remaining two back-to-back flyaways cast in serious doubt. The Spaniard has a check-up scheduled for Wednesday, after which he will have a clearer idea as to when he will be able to return.
Hayden, fresh from two fourth place finishes at the Jerez WorldSBK round, will make his second Grand Prix appearance of this season and his first at the factory Honda squad since 2008. The American subbed for the recovering Jack Miller in Aragon, where he managed to score a point despite a difficult weekend.
The American rider has three podiums to his credit in Australia, all of which coming on a Honda. He finished his maiden WorldSBK weekend at Phillip Island this year with a fourth place in the second race as well. 2016 also marks the 10th anniversary of his World Championship success in Repsol colours.
“First of all my best wishes to Dani, I’m sure he will come back stronger than ever like he always does. 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’,” an excited Hayden said.
“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 want also to thank my current team for allowing me to go and do this, and the sponsors. Everybody worked a lot on every detail to make it possible for me so now 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 tyres 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.”