News 13 Oct 2015

Rea positive Hayden will display strengths in WorldSBK

World champion welcomes additional title challenger.

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

New WorldSBK champion Jonathan Rea has been quick to welcome Nicky Hayden to the World Superbike paddock, following on from news that the 2006 MotoGP World Champion will be switching series for the 2016 season.

“It’s really cool,” the Northern Irishman said at the presentation of the 2016 Kawasaki ZX-10R. “It’s cool to have new riders in the championship anyway, but Nicky is bringing a great resume with him. He’s achieved a lot in his career.

“For sure, he is going to be strong. Just how strong, we’re going to have to wait and see, but it’s exciting for everybody because he is a very professional rider and I think we can learn some things from him because he has been at a high level for a long time in Grands Prix. I think I’m not the only one in the paddock who thinks that it will be nice to see him around.

“I hope he’s not too much of a pain on the track! We watched Nicky in his glory days of AMA Superbike and riding at the front of GPs week in, week out. He has been one of the best riders in the world, so I’m really excited to race with him.”

As Rea heads into his season of title defence with the Kawasaki Racing Team, Hayden will make his WorldSBK debut on a Ten Kate-run Honda alongside 2014 World Supersport Champion Michael van der Mark.

Six American riders have won World Superbike titles on previous occasions – Fred Merkel (1988 and 1989), Doug Polen (1991 and 1992), Scott Russell (1993), John Kocinski (1997), Colin Edwards (2000 and 2002) and Ben Spies (2009).