The number 69, raced by Nicky Hayden on his way to the 2006 MotoGP world championship, will be officially retired at this year’s Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin. Hayden tragically lost his life in a road cycling accident in 2017 and the retirement of his famous racing number from GP racing will serve as a tribute to the MotoGP legend.
Hayden’s world title success in 2006 remains one of the most emotional successes in MotoGP history with the ‘Kentucky Kid’ triumphing in Valencia after a season-long battle with Valentino Rossi. The American took three career victories as well as 28 podium finishes but the way he connected with fans through his character on and off the track will ensure he is never forgotten.
Nicky’s father Earl Hayden has thanked Dorna for their touching tribute and says the number will always carry special significance within the family.
“What a great honour it will be for Nicky’s #69 to be retired at Austin. It is very fitting that it will be done at the US race as these races meant so much to Nicky and he looked forward to them so much every year. For myself in particular this will be very special event because the #69 was my number when I raced and I was very proud to see Nicky run the #69 on his bikes for his entire career. On behalf of my entire family I would like to say a special thanks to Dorna for honouring Nicky in this special way along with the many other gestures they have done to support us through the difficult times.”
Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta believes the retirement of Hayden’s number is a fitting tribute to one the sport’s most popular stars.
“I’m proud to announce that the number 69 will be retired from Grand Prix racing. Nicky Hayden was one of the biggest assets to this paddock and a fantastic example as a rider both on track and off. It gives me great pleasure to honour his legacy once again and ensure the number 69 remains synonymous with a legend and a Champion.”