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This is Nicky Hayden, multiple-time AMA champion and 2006 MotoGP World Champion.

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And this is a Honda RC45, the ultimate superbike in the early '90s.

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A bike like this would be Hayden's first taste of superbike racing, back when he was in high school.

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The lines and styling are classic.

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All analogue.

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Superbike branding was not very subtle in the early '90s.

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Its brakes are bigger than a modern superbike, but the non-radial calipers don't deliver the same performance.

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It's a 750cc V-4 beneath those classic graphics.

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And here's Hayden's latest superbike, a box-fresh CBR1000RR.

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The new CBR uses a 1,000cc inline-four engine.

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Lightweight, machined parts and a digital dashboard.

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Modern, radially mounted calipers.

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Gone are the twin, round headlights.

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But the Honda logo remains.

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Hayden with the RC45.

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Hayden, The Kentucky Kid, has worn the number 69 for most of his professional career.

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Hayden and the author.

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This is the road-going CBR1000RR, which is extensively modified for World Superbike competition.

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Hayden on the track on the CBR1000RR.

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Knee down, perfect form.

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It was a clear day at Buttonwillow.

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It can be hard to keep the front wheel down on that CBR.

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Very hard.

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The classic styling of the RC45.

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Hayden on the pit wall at Buttonwillow during the shoot.

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Cover removed to enable race shift, how Hayden prefers it.

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Matte black paint is an option for the latest CBR1000RR.

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Tire warmers are a necessity on a cold day.

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The author also got a chance to sample the CBR1000RR.

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It's an incredibly powerful, agile machine.

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Look for this face on plenty of World Superbike podiums in 2016.

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