MONTEREY, CALIF. Nicky Hayden became the first U.S. rider to win a world MotoGP race in five years Sunday, leading from start to finish to beat fellow American Colin Edwards in the U.S. Grand Prix.
Hayden celebrated the victory - his first in 38 MotoGP starts - before a crowd of 57,000 fans at Laguna Seca Raceway by taking his father, Earl, along for the victory lap on the back of his Honda holding an American flag.
"This feels so good," Hayden said. "I got a good start, I kept my head down and never let up. Thanks to the team for believing in me, thanks to my mom and dad and thanks to all the fans, waving and cheering me on. They gave me something I'll never forget."
Edwards finished second, 1.941 seconds back to give the United States its first 1-2 finish on the MotoGP circuit since the 1993 Spanish Grand Prix.
Hayden, from Kentucky, is the first U.S. winner since Kenny Roberts took the 2000 Pacific Grand Prix in Motegi, Japan.
Italian star Valentino Rossi finished third, snapping his five-race winning streak.