Honda Racing / IZOD IndyCar Series / RacingLine
Nicky Hayden Rides to Historic Victory in US Moto Grand Prix
It had the same patriotic feeling as another popular victory in California 28 years earlier. And Nicky Hayden could certainly identify with Mario Andretti.
"It's a dream-come-true and it's the greatest feeling I've ever had, " said an ecstatic Hayden after capturing the USGP Moto GP on his Honda last July 10th at Laguna Seca.
In front of a sellout crowd of 57,000, which witnessed a Moto GP on American soil for the first time since 1994, Hayden duplicated Andretti's 1977 United States Grand Prix victory at Long Beach with a flag-to-flag win from the pole position.
"Everything worked well and I rode my heart out for the whole race," said the 23year-old Kentuckian, who joined Eddie Lawson and John Kocinski as the other USA riders to capture a USGP. "When the gap got smaller to Colin [Edwards], I just stayed focused and kept pushing.
"This win is for everyone on my team and for Honda, for believing in me and for all the great fans around the track today who helped me so much."
It was the former US Superbike champion's initial Moto GP win and he had to out-race Edwards and Valentino Rossi for 32 laps around the twisting, turning road course on the Monterey Peninsula.