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Nicky Hayden prepares for the MotoGP Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas

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From April 11-13, the Circuit of The Americas will turn into a motorcycle friendly zone, as the greatest riders in the world converge on the track in Austin, Texas for the MotoGP Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas.

Recently, the public relations staff at the racetrack sat down with former MotoGP champion Nicky Hayden to discuss his bike, the race, and find out a little more about what makes him tick.

COTA: Next up on the MotoGP calendar is the race in Austin at COTA. What are you looking forward to with your next trip to Texas?

NICKY: The fans! The support I get here at my home GP is amazing. It’s really a pleasure to have so many fans standing behind me rain or shine, so it will be nice to see everyone and have my family at the race. That’s also pretty special. They can come along, support me and enjoy the event. And Mom can sell her merchandise at her stand, which I know she loves!

COTA: You’ve expressed concerns about your new Honda motorcycle and the amount of power it produces. Have you made any progress there?

NICKY: Well top speed is not our strength at the moment with this bike, but it’s time stop complaining and go racing. We know it’s not going to be easy, and I am not as confident as I thought I would be with this new bike. But I need to focus on what I can control and improving where I need. And for me that’s taking advantage of the strength of the brake, and using its braking to 100 percent. I also need to re-adjust my brain to not use the clutch on back shifts on the corner entry and let the electronics do all the work—and not have the two systems working again each other. It’s the first time in my career where I don't need to use the clutch, and it’s a little harder to do than it sounds when you’re pushing at maximum and the reaction takes over.

COTA: Okay, it’s time to get to know the real Nicky Hayden. Tell us your preference of these choices:

COTA: Batman or Superman?
NICKY: They are both cool. But I prefer the former racers who have won the grand slam!

COTA: Pizza or cheeseburger?
NICKY: Pizza

COTA: Beer or bourbon?
NICKY: M7 Drive Energy Drink!

COTA: Mountain retreat or ocean view?
NICKY: Ocean view

COTA: Dog or cat?
NICKY: Dog

COTA: Star Wars or Star Trek?
NICKY: Neither. I’m not into that stuff.

COTA: Friday night or Saturday morning?
NICKY: Saturday morning

COTA: M&Ms or Reese’s Pieces?
NICKY: Both!

COTA: Football or basketball?
NICKY: Basketball

COTA: Blonde or brunette?
NICKY: One of each, please!

COTA’s 2014 MotoGP event features many new fan-friendly options, including three-day weekend passes and single-day ticket options for fans, a new dry camping option for fans who want to stay close to the circuit all weekend; and kids 12 and under receive FREE general admission with a ticketed adult.

Single-day general admission tickets start at $39 for Friday’s practice sessions, and single-day reserved seats start at $59. Three-day weekend passes start at $89 for general admission or $139 for reserved seats. Three-day dry camping passes are available and start at $150 per space.

Circuit of The Americas (COTA) has partnered with GovX.com, the largest e-commerce website for verified military and government members and their families, to provide discounts for military service members and first responders to the event.

“Every day, military service members and first responders, along with their families, sacrifice so much for all of the rest of us; it’s a special honor to bring them together with Circuit of The Americas to convey the community’s collective gratitude for their service,” added GovX Executive Chairman and Founder Tony Farwell.

GovX.com members have the opportunity to purchase three-day general admission tickets to COTA’s MotoGP race for $59 per person, a $30 savings or 34-percent discount.

“We are proud to support members of the Armed Forces and veterans at all motorsports events at Circuit of The Americas. Motorcycle racing is particularly popular with military families,” COTA Chief Marketing and Revenue Officer Geoff Moore said. “Partnering with GovX.com for the MotoGP race weekend and future events at COTA is a great way to show our appreciation for service members’ commitment and sacrifice. The special offer on three-day MotoGP tickets is also available to first responders—such as police officers, firefighters and EMS officials—who keep our communities safe every day. COTA is proud to celebrate these heroes and their loved ones by offering them three days of MotoGP action and entertainment at a very affordable price.”

Today through Friday, April 4, COTA will donate $1 for every ticket purchased for the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas to the Simoncelli Foundation, which was established in memory of Schwantz’s good friend, Marco Simoncelli, a MotoGP competitor from Italy who will be inducted into the MotoGP Hall of Fame as a MotoGP Legend this May. Simoncelli died after an accident during the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix. The foundation is a nonprofit organization which supports humanitarian projects that benefit the disadvantaged.

"I am thankful for COTA's support of the Simoncelli Foundation, a charity that's important to all of us who knew Marco personally and fans that followed his career," stated motorcycle racing legend Kevin Schwantz. “Marco was a great competitor and a very special friend. Now racing fans everywhere can honor his memory and help a cause important to Marco by purchasing a ticket to Austin’s MotoGP race."

Schwantz will serve as an official ambassador for COTA and work to promote the upcoming Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas MotoGP™ event.

“Kevin is a great champion and partnering with him gives us an opportunity to learn from his deep knowledge, as well as continue to celebrate his accomplishments,” Circuit Chairman Bobby Epstein said. “Kevin and I have always shared the desire to see him be a part of COTA, and it's awesome to finally see it become a reality. A great American track and a great American champion in the same city can't be kept apart. As a result, casual riders, current racers, future stars and the fans all win.”

Schwantz will also serve as Grand Marshal for the MotoGP race on Sunday, April 13, and will lead the parade laps scheduled for COTA’s personal seat license holders on Friday, April 11, between grand prix practice sessions.

Be sure to subscribe to the West Palm Beach Motorsports Examiner, and keep track of your favorite racers, no matter how many (or how few) wheels they may or may not race on. If you're a motorsports fan, and know of an event, team, or person you'd like to see profiled, please let me know. Also, be sure to follow me on twitter, and read my articles about local getaways, HOAs, elections, and restaurants.

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