Nicky Hayden Photo Exhibition Opens at Imola

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An exhibition of Nicky Hayden photographs, by the Italian photographer Mirco Lazzari, opened during the Imola WorldSBK round, aptly named “A Million Dollar Smile”.

With 69 photographs depicting the American’s international career, it provided a reminder to fans of what made the Kentucky Kid so popular.

For Lazzari, the challenge of finding the correct pictures was a trying time ,with weeks spent to ensure he struck the right chord, as the first anniversary of Hayden’s death approaches.

“I wanted to create an exhibition for Nicky, and it was very emotional because Nicky was a rider that gave all of us a lot of emotions,” said Lazzari. “He meant a lot to so many fans and to the sport, so I wanted to do this exhibition because he is missed by so many people.”

“There are 69 pictures and it was very difficult to cut the list down to the chosen pictures! I had originally planned on having 25 or 30 pictures, but when it was said to do 69 it felt right.”

“It’s difficult to find so many pictures, but I had a lot of help to choose the correct ones, and these 69 pictures are all very special to me.”

“I started working in MotoGP in 2002, and was at almost every race of Nicky’s MotoGP career – I only missed some races due to a motorcycle accident one year.”

The exhibition came about as a result of the close collaboration between Lazzari, Nikon Italia, and the Imola circuit, and it will remain open until June 10th.

For Lazzari, this was one of the most difficult exhibitions of his career due to the pressure that he felt, as he wanted to showcase Hayden’s sense of humor as much as his racing prowess.

“As I went through the pictures, the moment of taking each one came to my mind. I hope that everyone can understand that this exhibition is about Nicky and not about me. I’m very lucky to have been able to do this, and the comments from the people means so much to me.”

The sense of responsibility wasn’t lost on Lazzari, the Italian has attended almost every MotoGP race for the last 16 years and has worked in motorsports for over two decades.

“I love motorsport and even though I worked in Formula 1 before this, I’ve always loved motorcycles because the photographs can be so special.”

“The ambiance in MotoGP is more in line with my personality, and for this reason I have always loved to work in motorcycle paddocks – the bikes and riders are unbelievable for a photographer.”

“In this exhibition the bike is important, but not as important as the person. I much prefer to take an artistic picture rather than just to shoot the race, the photograph should show the emotions that you have for the sport.”

This is just one of many tributes to a rider that meant so much to so many.

The Nicky Hayden memorial garden in Misano is set to be opened on the anniversary of his passing, and Hayden’s hometown of Owensboro will unveil a statue of its famous son on June 9th (6/9) and declare the day Nicky Hayden Day for the #69.

Photos: WorldSBK

Steve English

"Superbike Steve" is known best for his on-air hosting of the WorldSBK race feed, but when he's not looking pretty for the camera, he is busy writing stories and taking photographs for Asphalt & Rubber.