Article on Hayden Going to MotoGP
I found this one the Speed Channel website and thought I'd share.
While it's good for Hayden that he was able to pressure HRC into giving him this ride, I kind of feel for Colin Edwards. I think he is more deserving of this ride, especially since he was previously told that due to marketing reasons HRC couldn't put an American rider in MotoGP.
International Racers, aka “the Evil Empire” took Honda HRC to the brink and it was Honda who blinked first.
This is how it was: American Honda did not want Nicky Hayden to leave the AMA Championship. The whole purpose of the effort and expense of winning a national title is capitalizing on it by having the Champion carry the number 1 plate around the country the next year.
The problem was that that Nicky Hayden’s contract ran out at the end of the AMA season and Yamaha made a solid offer to him to team up with Carlos Checa riding an M1 in MotoGP. Apparently Yamaha’s offer was for less money that American Honda was paying, but it was in the World Championship arena.
At 21 Nicky and his management knew that it was time to move on. In the first place everyone with a measurable forehead knows that most of the tracks that compose the AMA Superbike schedule are very dangerous by MotoGP standards, and secondarily hanging around to defend the USA Number One plate is not a very good idea when the attention of the road racing world is now clearly directed at MotoGP.
No one in their right mind leaves HRC if they can avoid it, but Nicky and his management at “the Evil Empire” also knew that Honda have a problem and that problem is Valentino Rossi. Rossi has told his intimate circle that he is oppressed by the HRC yoke and longs for the carefree days at Aprilia, but every time he passes the overweight and ungainly Aprilia triple he realizes that “it’s cold outside of Honda.”
Rossi will be looking at any offers he receives at the end of 2003 and Honda does not want to be in a position of having to give into Rossi’s demands again. They want the man who wins the World Championship on a Honda to carry a number 1. Number 1 means Honda. Number 46 means Rossi.
Thus Honda prepare for the future by fitting out Daijiro Kato (who is totally useless in the rain but otherwise brilliant) with a works RC211V four stroke half way through the season and letting Rossi know that Kato will get the new bits first.
But HRC have nurtured Hayden and brought him on. Hayden in the USA rode an RC51 Honda that, except for tires, was nearly identical to Edwards works Castrol Honda.
HRC would have liked to have bought Hayden into MotoGP in 2003, but they also respected American Honda’s wishes and were prepared to see Hayden do one more year in the States and then put him on a works Honda in MotoGP in 2003.
Yamaha, however, have also followed Hayden’s progress and, in their search for the new Rainey, they saw in the Kentuckian a rider capable of riding around problems and winning even against the august might of HRC.
HRC, at first, refused to believe that Hayden would really leave and thus the countdown began. Honda held right of first refusal and were aware of what they were up against.
Finally, realizing that Hayden was within hours of announcing a deal with Yamaha, Honda blinked and gave in.
I think that it will be an interesting year for MotoGP in 03, with Bayliss, Rossi, and Hayden. This year, it was a the Rossi show, not to take anything away from him he is 1 of the great riders, but there was no competion for him.
not only that, but the 5 cylinder honda was also the most dominant as well
finally, its about time he moved on..