AMERICAN former MotoGP champion Nicky Hayden was taken to hospital on Wednesday (May 17) after being struck by a car while training on his bicycle along Italy's Adriatic coast, the World Superbike series said.
Its official website said the 35-year-old, who rides for the Red Bull Honda team in the Superbike World Championship, was hit while training near the east coast resort of Rimini following a race at Imola.
Hayden has been taken to the Bufalini hospital in Cesena. A report issued by the hospital on Thursday morning (May 18) said the driver was still in a serious condition, with bleeding on the brain and a broken leg and pelvis. Doctors say he is still too weak to be operated on.
Known as the "Kentucky Kid", Hayden won the MotoGP championship on a Honda in 2006. He last raced in the championship in Spain in September 2016 as a stand-in for injured Australian Jack Miller at the privately-run Marc VDS Honda team. Hayden started 216 races between 2003 and 2015, winning three.
Michele Scarponi, the 2011 Giro d'Italia cycling champion, was killed last month after being hit by a van while training close to his home in Filottrano in eastern Italy.
Britain's Tour de France champion Chris Froome escaped unhurt this month while having his bike written off in a hit-and-run incident in France.