Nicky Hayden Americas most eligible Dare Devil bachelor
Repsol Honda's Nicky Hayden scored a victory among a very select group of world-class competitors on Wednesday morning. But instead of Sete Gibernau and Valentino Rossi, Hayden beat out a football player and a singer.
The 23-year-old Kentuckian was chosen over the others on a re-staged version of "The Dating Game," a classic American game show that pits three men against each other for the heart of a woman. The game was staged outdoors on the Rockefeller Plaza set of the "Today" show, the New York-based highest rated morning show in America with an average audience of six million viewers.
PEOPLE Magazine was responsible for Hayden being on the show. The 23-year-old Kentuckian was chosen as one of the 50 Hottest Bachelors of 2005 in the June 27 issue. Joining Hayden in the roster of bachelors are Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, and Colin Farrell, all fellow motorcyclists. As is Dhani Jones, the American football star who was among the bachelors joining Hayden on the "Today" show. "Today" show co-host Al Roker didn't believe that Hayden or the others found it hard to meet women.
"Now that I'm in PEOPLE magazine I hope these women start answering the phone when I call," Hayden joked.
The company Hayden keeps in PEOPLE Magazine is nearly as exclusive as the 22-rider MotoGP grid.
"We're actually looking at guys all over the country all year long," PEOPLE Magazine's Danielle Dubin said. "He really met all the criteria that we have for a hot guy, mainly that he's hot. He's also at the top of his game and doing something a little unusual. It fit in really well with our daredevil section. He races motorcycles at very high speed. He races the top international circuit. He's clearly successful. At 23 years old he's a pretty accomplished guy and a catch by anyone's standards."
Dubin couldn't estimate the pool of candidates for the top 50. "It's enormous," she said at a reception PEOPLE Magazine held in honor of the bachelors. "I don't even know that we can count it. And also you have to understand that all year long guys that are bachelors are no longer bachelors. So it's really a constant ebb and flow of bachelors and it starts out pretty big. We're seeing who's still available as we get closer and again he's really doing well and at the top of his game. We're looking to present the hottest."
Sarah Hostetter, 25, of Seattle, Washington, chose Hayden over the other two after asking each a series of questions. The first was what each looked for in a woman. "A girl I can connect with. I've got to be on the same page with a girl," Hayden said. As for the perfect woman, Hayden said, "A girl who's cool. Someone, like I said, on the same page, reminds me of my mom." The second question was easier for Hayden to answer. "Whether in a car or on a bike what's the fastest you've ever gone?" she asked the MotoGP star. "I'm your man," he answered with a smile. "I get paid to go fast. I was kind of hoping I could sing for you. I've gone 215, 218 mph top speed, so pretty fast."
Asked to choose among the three, Hostetter said, "I really like a man who can sing and I love athletes, and I don't know if my mom's going to be too happy about this, but I love a man who can ride fast."
"I finally won something this year!" Hayden said. "It's kind of nice. I don't mind doing this stuff, but I really want to win races. It's definitely good for the sponsors. It seems to be getting a lot of interest for the USGP which is important for everybody." Hayden added: I didn't really realize how big this show was until my phone started ringing afterwards. It's cool to get picked."
PEOPLE Magazine is among the most successful publications in America with an audience of 40 million readers. Among them is Hayden's mother, Rose, a former motorcycle racer in her own right. "My mom actually always reads the magazine," Hayden said, adding that being in PEOPLE is "definitely good for getting motorcycle racing. I always try to represent motorcycles in a good way. Racing has been so good to me and my family. I love bikes at all levels. It's nice to help the country see that it's not just all Hell's Angels and bikers. There's good people that ride bikes too."
Hayden said that on the set of the television show he was a different kind of nervous than he is astride the Repsol Honda RC211V on the starting line of a MotoGP race.
"On a starting line, I guess you get nervous, but more excited," he said. "It's a different feeling. That feeling on the starting line, that's what I live for. I love that."
As soon as his segment was finished, text messages started showing up on his mobile phone. "I'm sure I'm going to catch a lot of heat from my boys back home," he said. "Already got some text messages saying, 'I've falling hard.' And 'Is this the one? Am I bringing her home for Christmas?' I'm sure I'll get a little bit of heat on it. But it's all good fun."
Hayden was in New York for a whirlwind day of media appearances between two races. The Repsol Honda team tested on Monday in Montmelo, a day after Hayden finished fifth in the Grand Prix of Catalunya. On Tuesday he flew to New York and prepared for today's excitement, while finding time to go for a run in Central Park. Then he was at it early on Wednesday morning, signing autographs for fans on the "Today" show and posing for photos on a Honda CBR-1000RR painted in the colors of Hayden's RC211V.
Following that was a reception at PEOPLE Magazine, then an autograph signing session in the lobby of the Time-Life Building.
Hayden will be home in Kentucky for the weekend, then leaves Sunday for the Dutch TT at the famed Circuit van Drenthe in Assen on June 25, site of the sixth round of the MotoGP World Championship.
Source: Honda Pro Image