Nicky Hayden to 2016 World Superbike!
The rumors that Nicky Hayden would be leaving MotoGP for the 2016 World Superbike Championship have been confirmed as true.
Hayden, the 2006 MotoGP World Champion, will be joining the factory Honda Team and racing the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP along side 2014 World Supersport Champion Michael van der Mark, who is enjoying his rookie season in World Superbike with three podiums with one round remaining.
“We are, of course, delighted to announce that Nicky Hayden will be Michael’s team-mate on Honda’s CBR Fireblade machine in the 2016 World Superbike championship,” Honda’s WSBK Operations Manager Marco Chini said.
“The team has worked really hard this season, continuing the development of the bike together with Cosworth’s electronics and we are really happy that this endeavor has translated into strong performances from both riders, particularly in the last few races.
“These results have demonstrated the great potential that remains in the CBR and I’m happy that they may have influenced Nicky’s decision to join our program. We are confident that the wide experience he has gained at the highest level of our sport can help the squad to continue the development, the momentum and the team-work that has been established this season and translate that into further positive results.”
Hayden, 34, who won his MotoGP World Championship on a Repsol Honda is enthusiastic about taking on the World Superbike Series on a factory Honda.
“I’m very excited, obviously, to stick with Honda,” he said, nothing that “it’s where I’ve had the most success in my career. World Superbikes is a championship that I followed closely as a kid when a lot of American riders were fighting at the front. It just seems like the right time and the right team to go with. I know I’ve got a lot to learn and it’s going to be a big challenge, but also I’m very motivated to start and learn what I can. I’d like to say thanks to everyone who has supported me through my MotoGP career. We had a good run, but now it’s time to move on and try something different.
Team Manager Ronald ten Kate is enthusiastic about Hayden’s chances for success in World Superbike, as well as the make-up of the team with 22-year-old van der Mark. “He [Hayden] was AMA Superbike champion with Honda and we’re really looking forward to bringing him back to his superbike roots,” ten Kate said.
“By working together and using all our combined resources, I hope that in the future we can make him the first world champion in MotoGP and World Superbike. We are also looking forward to combining Nicky’s experience with young Michael, who has shown really good pace and huge potential on the CBR in his first season. I think you can safely say that I’m more than happy with the line-up we have for 2016!”
In addition to being a World Supersport champion, van der Mark also won back-to-back Suzuka 8 Hours races.