Valentino Rossi paid a glowing tribute to his former team-mate Nicky Hayden and said "we are all with you" as the former MotoGP champion remains in a serious condition in hospital.
Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team rider Hayden was knocked off his bicycle by a car while riding along the Rimini coastline on Wednesday.
The 35-year-old American was taken to a local hospital and has subsequently been transferred to the Bufalini Hospital in Cesena.
Rossi offered his support for Hayden, who ended the Italian's run of five consecutive MotoGP titles in 2006, and revealed some fond memories of their time as colleagues and rivals in the premier class.
Nicky è uno dei migliori amici che ho avuto nel paddock.siamo stati compagni di squadra con la Honda nel suo anno da rookie,il 2003,quando era un giovane debuttante alla prima esperienza europea.quella stagione si chiuse con il mondiale per me e con il suo primo podio a Phillip Island.dopo qualche anno abbiamo lottato uno contro l'altro per il mondiale 2006 fino all'ultima gara e alla fine,purtroppo per me,mi ha battuto ed è diventato il campione del mondo della MotoGP.dopo la gara ci siamo dati la mano e ci siamo abbracciati.in seguito siamo stati ancora compagni di squadra nei difficili anni della Ducati,quando parecchie volte abbiamo lottato all'ultimo sangue,magari per conquistare l'ultimo posto nella top five.Nicky veniva spesso al Ranch,dove era sempre uno spettacolo vederlo e cercare di carpire qualche segreto battagliandoci insieme,perché lui è uno dei più veloci flattisti del mondo e prima di passare all'asfalto ha vinto le più importanti gare di Flat Track americano come il Peoria TT. Il più bel ricordo che ho di lui però è quando è venuto a darmi la mano dopo la sfortunata gara di Valencia 2015,durante il giro d'onore.per lui era l'addio alla MotoGP,io avevo appena perso il mondiale.il suo sguardo di supporto dentro il casco è uno dei pochi ricordi positivi che ho di quel giorno.Forza Nicky,siamo tutti con te.
The Movistar Yamaha rider posted on Instagram: "Nicky was one of the best friends I had in the paddock. We were team-mates at Honda when he was a rookie in 2003, when he was a youngster getting his first experience in Europe.
"That season ended with the world title for me and his first podium in Phillip Island. A few years later we faced each other for the 2006 world title down to the wire and eventually, unfortunately for me, he beat me.
"He did it and became the MotoGP world champion. After that race we shook hands and hugged.
"Later we became team-mates again in the difficult years of Ducati, when we fought hard just to get in the top five.
"Nicky used to visit me at the Ranch, where he was spectacular and interesting to watch in order to get some of his secrets while we were battling, because he is one of the fastest flat track drivers in the world and before switching to tarmac he had won the most important flat track races in America, like the Peoria TT.
"The most beautiful memory of him is when he came to give me a hand after the unlucky race for me in Valencia 2015, during the honour lap. It was his farewell to MotoGP and I had just lost the world title.
"His supporting look inside the helmet is one of the few positive memories I have of that day. C'mon Nicky, we are all with you."
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