Just like his former World Supers rival Bayliss, Edwards seems unlikely to let himself become a MotoGP arse. Most importantly, he does like a beer or five when he’s not riding. At the 2002 Valencia GP (shortly after he had wrapped up his second WSB title) he spent most of his time in Rossi’s Nastro Azzurro hospitality unit, taking full advantage of the sponsor’s product and talking with anyone who happened by. Again, that isn’t normal practice in GP racing. Bayliss likes a drink too – he’ll even sink a couple of glasses of wine the night before practice. “Just to help me sleep, mate.”
I don’t really know Hayden that well but he’s having fun, which is the main thing. He greets people with a hip hop handshake and a “How you doin’, dude?”, says “Dang!” a lot and reckons everyone in the paddock is cool, with one exception. “I haven’t had a problem with anyone, other than Biaggi,” says Hayden. “He thinks it’s funny, when I don’t know the tracks, to come past real close to me.”
In fact, Hayden has had a problem with someone else in the paddock. Me. I gave the guy a bit of a scare a few weeks back; not my fault really, more the fact that I was going out with a girl called Nicky. You see, she was in a group email I’d sent, at least I thought I’d sent it to her, but I must’ve been half asleep when I hit the send button, because the message went to Nicky Hayden, not Nicky Waters. Oh, the dangers of modern technology, like a USAF ‘smart’ bomb gone awry.
So what was in the email? Hmmm, it was an invite to a music festival, which me and a few friends were planning to attend. The email went something like this: ‘Hey Nicky, fancy getting messed up in a field in Wales in August?’. I explained the ghastly error to Nicky the next time I saw him. He laughed. Nervously.