Former MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden took a tour of the new road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on April 7 aboard two bikes, a 1909 Indian that raced in the first IMS motor race in 1909 and a 2008 Honda CBR1000RR production bike.
The new 16-turn, 2.620-mile circuit will be used at the inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP, Sept. 12 to14.
Hayden, from Owensboro, Ky., will join his fellow MotoGP riders in the first motorcycle race at IMS in 99 years. "It was pretty unique and quite an honor to be the first guy around the new track here at the famous Speedway," Hayden said. "It was exciting to be here and be a part of it."
Hayden climbed aboard the 1909 Indian dressed in period costume of a leather helmet, goggles, blue sweater with "Indianapolis Speedway" sewn in green script, knickers, and leather riding boots and gloves. He then achieved a top speed of about 40 mph atop the bike.
"When they first fired it up, I thought, 'Man, what did I get myself into here?'" Hayden said. ?When she fired up, I wasn't ready for all that throttle going like this. But it was really cool. The backward brake was like from my bicycle back in the day.
"Those guys were men. I can't imagine racing that bike around here."
Hayden then changed into a special set of white Repsol Honda leathers and his racing helmet and boots to fire up the high-performance Honda reach approximately 150 mph on the front straight. He estimates his Repsol Honda Team MotoGP bike will reach 200 mph on the front straightaway during the Red Bull Indianapolis GP.
"When I saw the track map, I didn't realize how quick the front straightway is," Hayden said. "It's a long straightaway; it's going to be quick. You're going to need some ponies.
"My initial impression (of the circuit) was great. I didn't see any concerns. I'll be excited to get the GP bike out there."
Tickets for the inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP are on sale. Tickets can be purchased either online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com; or on the phone by calling (800) 822-INDY. All tickets for this event are three-day tickets, with both reserved and general admission seating available.
Nicky Hayden rides the 1909 Indian that competed in the first motor race at IMS, on Aug. 14, 1909.