Nicky Hayden's great relationship with the Dutch TT took a hit at the end of last year's race, when he ran out of fuel within sight of the finish line, but he still regards Assen as a special circuit.

"Assen is a special circuit for me - I love it here," he said. "The final split is my favourite because you have a run of fast corners that are crucial to a fast lap. The weather can change from one minute to the next so it will be important to make the most of all the track time available to us."

Hayden took his only victory outside of the Laguna Seca with a final turn triumph over countryman Colin Edwards in the 2006 event - when Edwards crashed - and took his first 800cc podium at the 2007 event.

The #69 then looked set to repeat that performance last year, before the last-gasp technical problem.

"I've had some of the best races of my career at Assen, like the fight for the win with Colin [Edwards] in 2006, which is my favourite," he said. "In 2007 I finished third and the last year I had the heartbreak to loose the podium in the last corner!"

The 2006 world champion's new start at Ducati has been arguably just as heartbreaking and a promising new set-up last time out at Barcelona seemed to lose its effectiveness as the weekend went on.

"We know we have a lot of work to do but myself and the team are hoping that the Catalunya race was the start of a major turnaround that we can continue to build on until the end of the season," said Nicky, who took his best result of the season so far with tenth in Catalunya.