Nicky Hayden’s move to the Aspar team for next season has been confirmed, on the same day that the team announce they are switching from Aprilia bikes to Honda’s next season.
Hayden who rode for Honda between 2003-08 received offers from both the GP and Superbike paddock after he lost his ride to Briton Cal Crutchlow for 2014.
Whilst Hayden to Aspar isn’t much of a surprise, there was a shock with Aspar switching his supplier from Aprilia to Honda.
That threw the level of factory support for the Aprilia project in doubt, with Honda – whom Hayden won the 2006 MotoGP title as a factory rider – stepping up as a safer alternative.
Speaking just before the official announcement, Hayden said: “I’m pretty happy with what I’ve got. It’s a production bike and of course I’d prefer the factory Honda but we’ve got to understand how competitive this bike can be. I love the team and from what I’ve heard from Honda about it.”
Aspar is said to have changed his plans over his bike next season after the resounding endorsement Hayden’s former team mate, Casey Stoner, gave it on his recent test in Motegi.
In the official Hayden-Honda announcement, team principal Jorge ‘Martinez’ Aspar said: “It is great news for the Power Electronics Aspar Team to have the acquired services of Honda and a rider of the profile of Nicky Hayden.
“We are taking a huge step forward in terms of quality, prestige and image. We have grown a lot in a short space of time and we are all very excited about this new project with Honda.
“It is the factory that the Aspar Team first started with back in 1992 and I have great memories of that period.
“Our objective is to continue being a reference point in the premier-class. I think the combination of Honda’s MotoGP Production Racer and Nicky Hayden is going to be a very successful one.
“We are thrilled to be working with a manufacturer with the history that Honda has and a rider like Nicky, a World Champion with huge experience. It will be a big change for us after so many years working with Italian factories but we have high hopes for this new project.
“We are up for the challenge and we will give maximum effort to making sure the Power Electronics Aspar Team continues achieving top results.”
Aspar is yet to announce his second rider, but with Aleix Espargaro imminently joining the Forward Racing Yamaha project, and Randy De Puniet possibly taking up a more serious role with Suzuki, the Spanish team owner is still on the look out for a second rider, with Eugene Laverty’s name not going away.