It’s not every day that a MotoGP World Champion stops by your office to say hello and meet the staff. But that’s exactly happened today when Nicky Hayden, 2006 MotoGP World Champion, visited Cycle World and the Bonnier Motorcycle Group. We thought it would be fun to ask Hayden, the 33-year-old Kentucky native who races for the Drive M7 Aspar team, some quick-hit questions about a wide variety of subjects. Enjoy.
Q: Are you healthy?
A: Yeah. Perfect.
Q: What’s your favorite playbike?
A: A Honda CRF450 flat-tracker.
Q: If you were to race in the Suzuka 8-hour, who would be your ideal teammate?
A: My brother Roger would be cool. Or another Honda rider. I’d probably take Marquez. I’d want the fastest guy to give us the best chance to win!
Q: What do you think of the Honda Grom?
A: Cool. One of my dad’s workers has one. I was riding it around. It’s a cool little bike. When I first saw one, I didn’t think much of them. But they’ve really caught on.
Q: Who’s the most talented rider to never win the World Championship?
A: In my time, Randy Mamola, obviously, to get second as much as he did. I would say Sete [Gibernau] is really underrated. He was really fast. And people like to knock Dani Pedrosa because he hasn’t won the title, but he has won a lot of races. He’s good enough to be the champ.
Q: If you weren’t a motorcycle racer, what would you be?
A: Lost, probably.
Q: What’s your best skill as a motorcycle racer?
A: I would say throttle control.
Q: What’s your worst trait as a motorcycle racer?
A: In roadracing, it’s too much rear brake. I use the rear brake to stop the bike. I use it for turning, for traction, to stop the wheelies. But now with electronics, I’d be better off to let the electronics do their job. It’s a lot easier said than done.
Q: Will there ever be another American World Champion?
A: Ever is a very long time. I say yes, but don’t expect it overnight. It’s going to take time.
Q: Fast in and slow out? Or slow in and fast out?
A: Fast in, fast out!