Fastest of the new Open Hondas during testing and most of the Qatar weekend, Nicky Hayden was pipped to the line by Scott Redding in Sunday's season-opening MotoGP race.

Unlike the class leading Forward Yamahas, the Production Honda riders all opted for the soft rear tyre, with Hayden struggling for grip after pushing hard early in the race.

Former world champion Hayden and rookie Redding swapped places repeatedly in the closing stages, before the Englishman snatched top RCV1000R honours.

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Speaking exclusively to Crash.net, Hayden said: "Of course I didn't like that, but we know Scott's qualities and he's been going faster and faster. I don't like it, but he's got a lot of quality.

"The first half of the race the bike was quite good and the pace wasn't too bad, but I pushed a lot to get on the back of Espargaro and I wasn't thinking enough about the tyre, and I really destroyed it.

"So the second half of the race my pace wasn't very good. Also going back and forth with Scott didn't help, so the gap [to Marquez] at the end was 32 seconds."

Asked about the eighth position, well inside his top ten target, Hayden admitted that fortune favoured him on Sunday with the likes of Jorge Lorenzo, Bradley Smith, Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl all crashing out ahead.

"On paper eighth isn't too bad but we know that a lot of guys crashed so we'll have to go a lot faster if we want to be in the top ten again."

The next MotoGP race is in three weeks' time in Texas and will be a home race for Hayden, however he doesn't have fond memories from last year's inaugural race at the Circuit of the Americas:

"Honestly, last year in Texas was not a good race for me, maybe the worst race of the year for me. I struggled a lot with the track but hopefully it's much better this year," said the Drive M7 Aspar rider.