Former MotoGP champion Nicky Hayden will take part in his first home American MotoGP event on a Honda since 2008, in Austin this weekend.

Unfortunately for the Drive M7 Aspar rider, his new Open class RCV1000R is not currently capable of challenging the Factory class machines, suffering a substantial acceleration and top speed deficit.

"It hasn't been easy. Obviously we hoped going back to Honda we could be more competitive than we have been in pre-season and even the first race. We got an okay result, but a lot of guys fell down and we took advantage of a lot of misfortune to get into the top ten," said Hayden, who finished eighth in Qatar.

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"If we want to get into the top ten this weekend were certainly going to have to beat some more people. But the home GP is always something special I really enjoy being in front of the home crowd and hopefully it will give us a little boost."

While the new Honda is struggling to break the top ten in normal circumstances, the rival Open class Forward Yamaha of Aleix Espargaro was a contender for pole and fourth in the Qatar race.

Espargaro's team-mate Colin Edwards was beaten by Hayden and fellow RCV1000R rider Scott Redding, but Hayden admitted that the leased M1-powered bike looks to have the Open class advantage.

"I would say yeah at the moment that's how it looks, but it's still really early so we'll see what happens. I'm sure Honda's not just gonna sleep through this and help us at some point.

"We'll have to stay focused and keep working as hard as possible on what we can control. Also from me, coming back to Honda there are few things that I'm still trying to improve and take advantage of some of the strengths of this bike versus the one I was on before. I have to do my part and just worry about that."

Honda has stated that it will continue to develop its customer bike, which currently does not have the full 24 litres of race fuel available to the Open class.

Austin has the longest straight on the MotoGP calendar, at 1.2km.