Former MotoGP world champion Nicky Hayden will make his return to the series at this weekend’s Motorland Aragon race as he stands in for the injured Estrella Galicia Honda rider Jack Miller.
Australian Miller is unfit to participate in Spain while he continues to recuperate from fractures in his right hand, which was an injury he first picked up in a high speed fall during the warm-up session at the Red Bull Ring in Austria in mid-August.
Miller bravely raced to a 16th place finish in Silverstone’s British Grand Prix and then attempted similar heroics at the Misano last time out, riding in practice and qualifying but the constant pain meant he withdrew ahead of the race.
Additional medical checks carried out immediately after the San Marino race revealed Miller has been riding with two fractures in his right hand. The constant stress on the hand while riding has slowed the healing process and Miller, in consultation with HRC and the team has decided the most appropriate course of action is to miss this weekend’s encounter.
“First of all I want to wish Jack a speedy recovery. He is a buddy of mine and he is a rider I believe in a lot, so I hope he can get healthy as quickly as possible to show the high potential we all know he has got. He just needs to get his body right so he can perform,” said the American.
“This is an unusual experience for me because I’ve never been a stand-in rider before. But I have a good relationship with Honda and when the idea first came up they were behind it and Ten Kate gave me their blessing, so it is nice to go and help out another Honda team. For me it just a chance to go and have fun. I’d probably be riding motorbikes anyway and I would definitely be watching the race on TV, so I might as well show up and have some fun.
“I know MotoGP is not a place that’s always easy to have fun because the level is so high but I’ve got a lot to learn and it won’t be a walk in the park. I haven’t ridden the bike and there are different tyres and electronics but I’ve got a lot of experience and I get another shot at MotoGP, which is great for me personally.
“I want to thank Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS for the opportunity and Ten Kate and my sponsors who all made it happen and I will try and do them all proud.”