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World superbike star Nicky Hayden, the 2006 MotoGP world champion, is fighting for his life after being knocked off his bicycle while training in Italy yesterday.

 

Reports suggest that the Red Bull Honda racer, 35, collided with a Peugeot car. Photographs from the scene show damage to the car’s windscreen, where the rider struck it, as well as his images of his Specialized bicycle snapped into several pieces by the force of the accident.

 

Hayden was transferred to hospital following treatment at the site of the accident. Reports from Italy suggest that the American racer has suffered serious head and chest injuries, and that he is in a medically induced coma.

 

While details are still emerging of the rider’s condition, Hayden’s Red Bull Honda team have issued the following statement:

 

“Following the incident, Nicky was treated on site by medical staff and then taken by ambulance to a hospital near Rimini for immediate treatment. Once Nicky’s condition was stabilised, he was transferred to Maurizio Bufalini Hospital in Cesena and remains in the hospital’s intensive care unit.”

 

“Members of Nicky’s team and his fiancé are with him in the hospital.”

 

“We would like to thank everyone for their kind wishes and messages of support and the assistance of emergency and medical services. Once an official statement regarding Nicky’s condition is released by the hospital or Nicky’s family, a further update from the team will be issued.”

 

Multiple world champion Valentino Rossi has also issued a statement regarding the injury to his friend and rival. Hayden was paired with Rossi when he first came to Europe, riding for the Repsol Honda team, and the American narrowly pipped Rossi to the crown in a dramatic finale to the 2006 season in Valencia.

 

Rossi said: “Nicky is one of the best friends I’ve ever had in the paddock. We’ve been team-mates with Honda in his rookie year and after a few years we fought for the 2006 world title. Afterwards we were team-mates in the difficult years of Ducati when we fought several times at the last blood, often to win the last place in the top five.”

 

“Nicky often came to the Ranch (Rossi’s private dirt track circuit) where it was always a show to see him. He is one of the fastest flat track riders in the world and he won the most important American races, like the Peoria TT, before switching to asphalt.”

 

“The most beautiful memory I have is after the unlucky race of Valencia 2015. It was his farewell to MotoGP and I had just lost the title. He took my hand on the lap of honour and the supporting look inside his helmet is one of the few positive memories I have of that day. Nicky, we are all with you.”

 

Further updates on Hayden’s condition are expected to be made over the next 24 hours.

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