After missing most of last season with a myriad of injuries, Roger Lee Hayden will now miss the start of the 2009 season next week at Daytona International Speedway.According to a release issued today by Kawasaki, the youngest of the three Hayden brothers has been granted a leave of absense because of personal reasons."Roger is a valued member of the extended Kawasaki family, and the relationship is one of mutual respect and understanding. We look forward to him rejoining the team as soon as possible," said Mike Preston, Kawasaki's road race manager.Last year, Hayden scored points in only four races on three race weekends. His woes started at Barber Motorsports Park when he was crashed into during Superbike qualifying. The result was the loss of most of his left pinkie, a pelvis that was broken in three places and injury to his lower left lumbar. In addition to missing Barber, he was out of action for Fontana, Infineon, Miller, and Road  America before returning at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. He later broke his left hand and damaged his shoulder at Road Atlanta and sat out the season finale at Laguna.Hayden tested at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, last month and admitted he was rusty."Now I'm just trying to find a little bit of a groove since I haven't ridden since Road Atlanta [at the end of August]," he explained. "Last year, I missed all the races, but three. I'm a little bit rusty. Things are getting better slowly but surely. I could use a couple more days, but that's the way it is. So far things are looking good."This year's Daytona 200 was to be Hayden's first - even though it's his ninth season of AMA pro racing."I've never did the 200," he said at the Fontana test. "I'm looking forward to it. I mean, obviously, the race doesn't have the history and the pride as it once did, but it'll be a long endurance race. I've never did pit stops since I was on a YSR-50. That should be pretty fun and I'm looking forward to it."Neither Hayden or team manager Preston returned phone calls on Friday afternoon after the news broke that Hayden wouldn't make the trip to Florida.

AMA Pro Racing Headlines

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.

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