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This is Nicky Hayden, multiple-time AMA champion and 2006 MotoGP World Champion.
And this is a Honda RC45, the ultimate superbike in the early '90s.
A bike like this would be Hayden's first taste of superbike racing, back when he was in high school.
The lines and styling are classic.
Superbike branding was not very subtle in the early '90s.
Its brakes are bigger than a modern superbike, but the non-radial calipers don't deliver the same performance.
It's a 750cc V-4 beneath those classic graphics.
And here's Hayden's latest superbike, a box-fresh CBR1000RR.
The new CBR uses a 1,000cc inline-four engine.
Lightweight, machined parts and a digital dashboard.
Modern, radially mounted calipers.
Gone are the twin, round headlights.
But the Honda logo remains.
Hayden with the RC45.
Hayden, The Kentucky Kid, has worn the number 69 for most of his professional career.
Hayden and the author.
This is the road-going CBR1000RR, which is extensively modified for World Superbike competition.
Hayden on the track on the CBR1000RR.
Knee down, perfect form.
It was a clear day at Buttonwillow.
It can be hard to keep the front wheel down on that CBR.
The classic styling of the RC45.
Hayden on the pit wall at Buttonwillow during the shoot.
Cover removed to enable race shift, how Hayden prefers it.
Matte black paint is an option for the latest CBR1000RR.
Tire warmers are a necessity on a cold day.
The author also got a chance to sample the CBR1000RR.
It's an incredibly powerful, agile machine.
Look for this face on plenty of World Superbike podiums in 2016.