Nicky Hayden ‘s number 69 will no longer be used in grand prix racing as it will be retired during 2019 MotoGP’s US Grand Prix in honour of the American racer.
The 2006 MotoGP champion died in an accident in Italy in 2017 while preparing for a Superbike Championship round. In a special tribute to the fallen rider, it has been decided that the #69 which he rode with, will be retired from grand prix racing.
The official retiring of the number will take place during this year’s MotoGP’s Grand Prix of the Americas at Circuit of the Americas in Texas which is scheduled for April 12-14 weekend. The #69 will forever remain as the number of the ‘The Kentucky Kid’.
“What a great honor it will be for Nicky’s #69 to be retired at Austin,” said Hayden’s father, Earl. “It is very fitting that it will be done at the US race as these races meant so much to Nicky Hayden 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 Hayden 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 honoring Nicky Hayden in this special way along with the many other gestures they have done to support us through the difficult times.”
Dorna Sports’ CEO, Carmelo Ezpeleta added: “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.” Following his death, the American rider has been honoured by many thus far.
The AMA Horizon Award has been renamed to ‘Nicky Hayden AMA Horizon Award’ which is presented annually to outstanding amateur rides in dirt track, motocross and road racing, while COTA has officially named Turn 18 as ‘Hayden Hill’ in his honour.