Ex-MotoGP champion Nicky Hayden 'critical' after cycling crash

The smashed window of the car that hit Nicky Hayden

The smashed window of the car that hit Nicky Hayden. Tommaso Torri

MotoGP riders paid homage to Hayden ahead of this weekend's French GP, with a sign being held up in the pre-event press conference on Thursday.

The Bufalini Hospital in Cesena said in a statement on Thursday: "Nicky Hayden's clinical condition remains extremely critical".

Nicky Hayden, the 35-year-old motorcycle racer nicknamed the Kentucky Kid, was training on the Rimini coastline in Italy on his bicycle when a Peugeot 206 convertible hit him. Hayden suffers from brain damage and several fractures including a broken leg. Physicians are now hesitant to perform surgery to reduce Hayden's cerebral edema, due to his critical and unstable condition.

Nicky Hayden remains in extremely critical condition at an Italian hospital with severe brain and chest injuries after he was hit by a auto while cycling. Further description of the extent of his injuries has not been released since the hospital's prior statement of "serious polytrauma with subsequent serious cerebral damage".

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Honda said he was taken initially by ambulance to a hospital near the coastal resort of Rimini before being transferred to Cesena.

Hayden now has his fiancé Jackie by his side as well as his brother Tommy and mother Rose, according to a report on Fox Sports MotoGP.

He has 218 MotoGP races under his belt and won the world title with Repsol Honda 11 years ago - ending Valentino Rossi's streak of five successive championship victories - and also raced for Ducati before switching to the Superbike circuit last year. He started 216 races between 2003 and 2015, winning three. "For Nicky, we're all with you", the Italian MotoGP legend added.

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.

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