The Red Bull Honda World Superbike team has vowed to race on at Donington this weekend as they pay their respects to Nicky Hayden, who tragically passed away yesterday.
In a statement issued by the team, the first since announcing Nicky’s death on Monday evening, management from the Red Bull Honda squad paid tribute to ‘one of the racing world’s most loved sons’ and offered their heartfelt condolences to Hayden’s fiancée Jackie, family, friends and fans.
“It seems impossible that Nicky is no longer with us,” said Marco Chini, WorldSBK Operations Manager for Honda Motor Europe. “Nicky was not only an outstanding rider, but also a shining example of sporting ethos and professionalism.
“The “Kentucky Kid” perfectly represented the values of the sport and the American school of motorcycling. The level of affection and support that the global sports community has shown Nicky demonstrates how much his kind persona and his genuine passion for motorcycling have left a mark in the hearts of motorsport enthusiasts and insiders, and his incredible legion of fans around the world. It is such a shame we only had eighteen months working together, but we have many happy memories during this time. Seeing Nicky return to the top step of the podium in Sepang last year was very special and also his podium at Laguna Seca was a real proud moment as Nicky was always so passionate when racing in front of his home fans.
“Thank you for everything Nicky; we will always remember you fondly, and you will be sorely missed.”
Team owner Ronald Ten Kate added: “This is a huge shock to me, the whole team, the World Superbike paddock and actually the entire racing world. We only had the pleasure to work with Nicky for one-and-a-half years but we came to know him like all his previous teams spoke about him: fanatical about bikes, hard-working, charismatic but above all, he was pure and genuine. He was Nicky!
“He will be missed by all of us and I hope he will be an example for any young talent trying to reach the top as Nicky did himself. We wish the Hayden family and his fiancée Jackie all the strength they will need. Rest in peace Nicky Hayden.”
The remainder of the team statement read: “The Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team offers its most heartfelt condolences to Nicky’s family, his fiancée Jackie, his friends, fans and everyone who has been touched by the passing of one of the racing world’s most loved sons.
Nicky’s passing has shocked and saddened everyone in the team and we are still coming to terms with this tragedy. However, we will participate in this weekend’s WorldSBK round at Donington in the United Kingdom.
Rest in peace Nicky. You will be truly, deeply missed by all of us.”