Hayden to leave MotoGP for WSBK ride
8 October 2015 – Nicky Hayden, the 2006 MotoGP champion, has announced that he will be leaving the premier class for a ride in the Superbike World Championship with Ten Kate Honda in 2016.
The American, 34, will race alongside Michael van der Mark at the Honda sqaud, taking over from Sylvain Guintoli, who himself made 38 MotoGP appearances from 2000-2011.
Hayden has spent the past two seasons in the Open class with Aspar.
"This will be my last year in MotoGP as I'll be moving to World Superbikes next year with Honda and the Ten Kate team; that's about all there is to it," Hayden commented.
"These last two years haven't been so good, and I've always thought SBK might be something I want to try; I liked the racing there, the opportunity felt like a good fit.
"I'm getting a bit older but I still enjoy the sport and the game. It'll be a fresh challenge for me and a new opportunity to go there and have some more fun.
"Of course I'll miss MotoGP. I've had a great opportunity here, been part of some great teams and worked with some great people, but nothing lasts forever."
Hayden began his MotoGP career with Honda in 2003, taking his first podium at Motegi in his debut season, and maiden win on home soil at Laguna Seca two years later.
A string of podium finishes saw Hayden establish an early title lead in 2006, and he ultimately did enough to secure the crown, five points ahead of Yamaha's Valentino Rossi.
Two more seasons – and sporadic podiums – followed with the Japanese manufacturer, before he made the switch to Ducati, where he spent five campaigns prior to joining Aspar.