Nicky Hayden (35), the World Superbike Championship rider and 2006 MotoGP world champion, has passed away five days after being involved in a road collision.
The 35-year-old American was cycling along the Rimini coastline in Italy last Wednesday when a car collided with his bicycle.
Hayden, from Owensboro, Kentucky, suffered head and chest injuries in the collision and was transferred to the Maurizio Bufalini Hospital in Cesena, where he was treated in the intensive care unit.
The driver of the vehicle that struck Hayden was given a breathalyser test and was not found to have been over the limit at the time of the accident. Italian police have opened an inquiry into the accident, with their conclusions expected in July.
Hayden entered MotoGP, motorcycling’s elite competition, in 2003 and won the world championship in 2006, narrowly beating his friend and rival Valentino Rossi, who had won the title five times in a row. Hayden, who was born in Owensboro, Kentucky, transferred to World Superbikes in 2016. He was competing for the Red Bull Honda team this season and was 13th in the riders’ standings.
On Monday, members of the motor racing community paid tribute to Hayden, who was an immensely popular figure.