Valentino Rossi paid a glowing tribute to his former teammate Nicky Hayden and said "we are all with you" as the former MotoGP champion remains in a serious condition in hospital.
Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team rider Hayden was knocked off his bicycle by a car while riding along the Rimini coastline on Wednesday. The 35-year-old American was taken to a local hospital and has subsequently been transferred to the Bufalini Hospital in Cesena.
Rossi offered his support for Hayden, who ended the Italian's run of five consecutive MotoGP titles in 2006, and revealed some fond memories of their time as colleagues and rivals in the premier class.
The Movistar Yamaha rider posted on Instagram: "Nicky was one of the best friends I had in the paddock. We were teammates at Honda when he was a rookie in 2003, when he was a youngster getting his first experience in Europe.
"That season ended with the world title for me and his first podium in Phillip Island. A few years later we faced each other for the 2006 world title down to the wire and eventually, unfortunately for me, he beat me. He did it and became the MotoGP world champion. After that race we shook hands and hugged. Later we became teammates again in the difficult years of Ducati, when we fought hard just to get in the top five.
"Nicky used to visit me at the Ranch, where he was spectacular and interesting to watch in order to get some of his secrets while we were battling, because he is one of the fastest flat track drivers in the world and before switching to tarmac he had won the most important flat track races in America, like the Peoria TT.
"The most beautiful memory of him is when he came to give me a hand after the unlucky race for me in Valencia 2015, during the honor lap. It was his farewell to MotoGP and I had just lost the world title.
"His supporting look inside the helmet is one of the few positive memories I have of that day. C'mon Nicky, we are all with you."