Hayden: 'I knew I had to go for it!'

1 of 1

Nicky Hayden took his first race victory in ten years at the sixth round of the 2016 Superbike World Championship in Sepang, but the Kentucky Kid says it’s not through a lack of trying that he endured a decade-long dry spell.

Hayden’s last win came at Laguna Seca in 2006, the year he went on to become MotoGP World Champion,  but the American star hadn’t been on the top step of the podium since until this weekend.

After a tough first race on Saturday, Hayden re-grouped for Sunday’s second outing and when he saw conditions were sketchy he knew he had to give it all he could.

“When it started raining I knew I had to go for it,” he said. “I’m not in the championship fight and that meant I could risk a bit more. In the first laps I took some chances to get to the front as I didn’t want to get caught up racing in a pack like in Assen.

“I tried to stay as comfortable as possible while in the lead because we weren’t sure of tyre durability on this track with the new asphalt. I managed to pull a gap and in the end it wasn’t easy, because I knew those guys were coming for me.

“It’s my first win in a long time, it’s been a dry few years but I’ve never stopped trying; to get a win at this point in my career in Superbike is truly amazing.”

Oli Rushby

By Oli Rushby

Former sports reporter covering British Superbikes, World Superbikes and road racing