2006 MotoGP world champion Nicky Hayden was at Laguna Seca WSBK last weekend. Hayden’s official business was signing autographs for fans and sponsors at Laguna Seca, yet some suggest that he was there for another reason.
It hasn’t been an easy road for an American rider in MotoGP for several years now. And although one could go down the list of current MotoGP rides and see several good fits for Hayden to slot into for 2016 (Aprilia?) the reality is that there might not be a spot for him in MotoGP next year. If he were slightly more Latin or, dare we say British, then maybe he’d be slipped into another MotoGP ride, but as it stands now, that might not happen.
[pullquote]In all fairness, after the self-destruction of Ben Spies in MotoGP and the non-performance of DMG Superbike champ Josh Herrin in Moto2, there seems to be some wariness in Europe on the topic of American riders, present and future.[/pullquote]
This is the current state of mid-level MotoGP rides: LCR Honda sponsor CWM dictated that if they sponsored the LCR team in 2015 that it be with a British rider–hence Cal Crutchlow was hired. Also, Monster Energy transferred a large sum to support the team’s move to a British rider.
Additionally, Scott Redding’s manager, Michael Bartholemy, is the team manager and chief organizer of the team that Redding rides for–the Marc VDS squad. Marc VDS basically leased a satellite RC213V for Redding to race this season.
In all fairness, after the self-destruction of Ben Spies in MotoGP and the non-performance of DMG Superbike champ Josh Herrin in Moto2, there seems to be some wariness in Europe on the topic of American riders, present and future.
Problems in MotoGP are not limited to the usual have and have nots. Some mid-level MotoGP teams, and as seen by Forward Yamaha last week, are apparently on precarious foundations and might be closer to not going racing next year than some suspect.
If Hayden is unable to secure a MotoGP berth, it’s very possible that MotoGP may roll on in 2016 with two American MotoGP rounds (Austin and Indy) and zero Americans on the grid.
Hayden might land in World Superbike in 2016. For that championship, Hayden being in the mix is certainly going to shake things up.
Say you’re a WSBK team manager. Are you going to hire a Leon Haslam or Nicky Hayden? A Randy De Puniet or Nicky Hayden? A Davide Giugliano or Nicky Hayden? A Sylvan Guintoli or a Nicky Hayden? The list goes on …