Roger Lee To World Superbike

Paul Carruthers | January 3, 2010

Roger Lee Hayden is headed for the World Superbike Championship. Armed with a contract with the Pedercini Kawasaki team, the youngest of the Hayden brothers will be the first of the racing trio to try his hand at World Superbike racing full time and he’ll do so on a motorcycle that is at least familiar to him – the ZX10R.Hayden got the deal done late last week after finally tiring of seeing if a projected Moto2 ride would pan out.”That was kinda like my deadline with those guys to tell them if I was going to ride for them or not,” Hayden said from his home in Owensboro, Kentucky. “I was kind of waiting for the Moto2 thing I guess and things were just stalling and it was looking too iffy and I didn’t want to get stuck without a ride. Luckily enough, I had a pretty good gig there on the backburner and I’m really happy. World Superbike looks like a lot of fun and it’s something that I’ve always had a lot of interest in. With the way things are right now, I’m just happy to have a job. And to have a good one and in World Superbike…”In addition to having a Superbike he’s familiar with, Hayden also continues a relationship with Kawasaki that he hopes will help him and the team in the coming season.”I’m familiar with the bike and the team gets some help from the factory in Japan,” Hayden said. “I know a lot of the guys from KHI from being at Kawasaki for so long so I think that will help too. That’s where they get all their backing and with the MotoGP team gone they’ve really moved behind World Superbike. All that is really encouraging.”The first time I will ride the bike will be at Portimao [Portugal]… the guys in the team are cool, you know. I told them from the get-go that I was trying to do the Moto2 team, but things got iffy there and it was stalling out for so long to get a contract. But these guys were really patient. That deadline was approaching and since those guys were being so cool I didn’t want to hang them up.”Italian Luca Scassa and David Salom rode the Pedercini Kawasakis in last year’s World Superbike Championship with Scassa scoring just 11 championship points as the team leader.The 26-year-old Hayden lost his Daytona SportBike ride with the Monster Kawasaki team when Kawasaki announced in December that they wouldn’t be participating in the AMA series in 2010.”We are very pleased to welcome Roger to our team,” team owner Lucio Pedercini said in a team release. “He’s a young driver and we will do our best to use its full potential and help him in his debut World Superbike Championship. Roger Hayden has already shown in the USA to be competitive and to be familiar with the Kawasaki ZX10R and we want to continue his career with Kawasaki. He probably needs a little time to adjust to our team, new tracks and a difficult and competitive league, but we are confident that it will help him talent and her determination. “It looks like the Hayden family are going to be one parent short this year. With either Earl or Rose Hayden normally splitting up on weekends where their sons were racing at different venues around the world, things just got a little tougher with three boys racing in three different series. The oldest of the three boys, Tommy, will ride a Yoshimura Suzuki in the AMA Series while Nicky will be back on the Marlboro Ducati in the MotoGP World Championship.”It’s going to be tough now with Tommy just having a baby girl, so we’re all going to be… they [Earl and Rose] are going to have their hands full, but my parents are pretty psyched for me too,” Roger Lee said. “I’m really excited. With the way the DMG series is right now, to be able to move away from it is going to be good.

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.