MotoGP rookie Scott Redding finished as the leading Open class Honda rider to put the icing on a brilliant premier class debut in Qatar.

Gresini Honda's Redding came out on top of a battle with 2006 world champion Nicky Hayden, who was riding the Drive M7 Aspar RCV1000R, to finish seventh in the Losail night race to pocket his first MotoGP points.

"I am very happy! I was expecting to be able to follow Hayden for a few laps, not for the entire race and even beat him," said a delighted Redding.

Related Articles

"In the first laps I wanted to exploit the potential of the softer tyre and I was pretty aggressive, making some moves. At that point I followed Hayden for a lot of laps, then I felt that he let me pass, only to overtake me soon after.

"I knew, however, that I could be faster than him, so in the latter part of the race I tried to overtake him on the fast sector with a big move, then I pushed as much as I could for the last two laps," added Redding.

"We reached our goal, which was to be the best Open class Honda."