Owensboro’s Nicky Hayden won his first World Superbike victory yesterday (Sunday, May 15) in Sepang, Malaysia.
This is Nicky’s rookie season in WorldSuperbike (WorldSBK) following 13 seasons in MotoGP, including a World Championship in 2006.
A rainstorm hit the track just before the start of the World Supersport race, which was then postponed until after the WorldSBK race.
Hayden jumped out to an early lead and was able to hold on for the victory, despite the wet conditions and low visibility during the start of the race.
“It feels pretty good to be up here and to win the race,” Hayden told WorldSuperbike.com after the race. “In the first laps, I tried to get in front, get clear track, and pull a bit of a gap. We had no idea what the tires were gonna do in the wet. As the track started drying, I was a little worried and it wasn’t easy. I’m very happy to get this win. I want to thank my team, and all my supporters and I want to dedicate this win to my Dad. He asked for a podium this week as he has had a rough week and I told him I would see what I can do… so I hope he is having fun.”
Hayden’s last world championship victory came in the 2006 season during his time in MotoGP.
In an interview with Crash.net minutes after the podium celebration, Nicky commented, “It’s been a long time since my last win, unfortunately! I wish it wasn’t so long but that’s the reality. My first GP win was something special, but this feels great.” Hayden said he gained some confidence while watching the World Supersport riders practice Friday on the wet track. “When it rained, I knew I had to go for it. I know people say ‘you can’t win the race on the first lap’ – but in rain races, you can.”
Nicky tweeted after the race, “Been some dry years, but we never stopped trying.”
This is the second podium finish this year for Hayden, who now stands sixth in the championship points after 6 of 13 races.
According to Crash.net, Hayden’s win makes him the 16th rider to win a MotoGP and WorldSBK race.