Kentucky Kid Uncensored
He has come a long way from racing opponents twice his age in CMRA where he often started the race from the back of the grid while a family member held his bike upright because his feet could not yet touch the ground! Nicky Hayden later went on to blaze the U.S. dirt track scene as well as winning the AMA Supersport and Superbike championships in 1999 and 2002 respectively.
Since 2003 Nicky has been one of the elite MotoGP riders winning the World Championship in 2006 on his Repsol RC211V Honda. Now riding the Ducati along side 2007 World Champ Casey Stoner, Nicky is starting to find his way again after struggling for sometime. We had the opportunity to fire off some questions to the "Kentucky Kid" and here is what was said.
UMC: What would you say is the most important part of your workout regimen as it relates to riding your Ducati?
Nicky Hayden: Cardio for sure, the Ducati is very intense to ride and you can never rest on it… your focus on this bike must be 100% the whole time or it will bite you! It has a lot of lights and switches you must focus on so it can be as hard mentally as physically sometimes.
UMC: What is it like being teammates with Casey Stoner? Meaning do you guys get along well, hang out during your off time, etc…?
Nicky Hayden: Yeah, we get on well. We don’t hang out a lot on personal time but if we are at an event or something together we chat a lot about different things and have a few good laughs. We also like to team up on Livio (Ducati Race Director) and give as much grief as possible!!
UMC: What is your take on the role that electronics should or shouldn’t play in MotoGP?
Nicky Hayden: They should be left to the video games and let the riders be the ones who make the difference on the track. They suck and there are too many.
UMC: I met you in New York City when you were at the showings of the films Faster and Faster. You were extremely cordial and signed posters for every single fan. Has it ever been overwhelming at times to deal with fame?
Nicky Hayden: Not really. I love the sport and want to do my best to help promote it and see it grow. The fans have been great to me so I enjoy being able to give a little something back. But I do enjoy my time in the states, where MotoGP is a lot less popular so its a lil more relaxed when ya just trying to chill, but then sometimes in Europe you can milk it a bit and get some VIP treatment!
UMC: Laguna Seca has always been a big energizer for you and 5th was solid progress. What are your thoughts for the Indy round this year?
Nicky Hayden: Can’t wait racing at home is great, Indy had a good event last year and I think it will only get stronger in the next years. I got a few more races to try to get prepared and hope to be able to put up a real fight at Indy and make the home crowd proud.
UMC: Jorge Lorenzo’s high-sides and the rookie taking you out early in the year are simply shocking. Which riders do your trust most and least?
Nicky Hayden: Hah!!! I not giving names, but on the track there are for sure guys you can count on to give ya a lil room and guys you can count on to get dirty!!
UMC: Does your life as a road racer ever seem like a dream? What do you think you would do for a living if not race motorcycles?
Nicky Hayden: Yea for sure everyday is holiday I love what I do and a blessed boy to get to do what I do and get paid to do it. And I am really not sure what I would do if I wasn’t racing. I feel like this is what I was meant to do. It is the one thing I love to do and got some talent for I never had a plan B. I went all in to be a racer and luckily it’s paid off.
UMC: How often do you get to be at home when you are on the road during the season? What do you do when you go home?
Nicky Hayden: This year has been less… it’s been a lot of work this year, but I am a homeboy from a big tight family and when I get the chance… I love getting home. And when at home it’s still a time to stay focused on practicing and training and doing anything I can to try to help my game and come back stronger. But I also try to spend time with my friends and family and just relax when I can so when I get back on the road and fresh and ready!!
UMC: My son’s name is also Nicky. From one Nicky to another could you give him a solid piece of advice that can assist him on his life-journey?
Nicky Hayden: I would say try to find something in life you truly enjoy and if possible try to make it you job, cuz its great to wake up in the morning and truly cant wait to get to work. Just stay true to your self and chase your dreams. Good luck and go hard!!!
Alan Tecchio is a freelance writer based in the NY metro area who has interviewed 100s of celebrities. He is an avid motorcyclist and active Motorcycle Safety Foundation rider coach. He is also the lead singer of the rock band Autumn Hour who recently released the hard-hitting album entitled Dethroned.