Kentucky Kid honored posthumously by MotoGP

FILE - In this Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016 file photo, Honda MotoGP rider Nicky Hayden holds up his hand during an official pre-race press conference ahead of the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix at Phillip Island, Australia. The Maurizio Bufalini Hospital has announced that American motorcycle racer Nicky Hayden has died, five days after being hit by a car while training on his bicycle Hayden was 35. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith, File)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - MotoGP has formally retired the No. 69 of former champion Nicky Hayden, who died in 2017 after a bicycling accident in Italy.

Hayden used the number throughout his career from 2003-2016. He won the MotoGP championship in 2006.

Hayden was known as the "Kentucky Kid," born and raised in Owensboro, and was the last American to win motorcycle racing's top championship. His number was retired Friday at the Circuit of the Americas, the home of this week's Grand Prix of the Americas. It is the only race of the season in the U.S.

The track has also dedicated an area where fans gather to watch the race as "Hayden Hill" with his number painted on the grassy hillside.

Hayden died after being struck by a car while on a training ride on his bicycle. His number is the sixth to be formally retired by MotoGP.