Nicky Hayden salvaged eleventh place as the top Open class Honda MotoGP rider in front of his home American fans in Austin, Texas on Sunday.
Starting 14th, Hayden fought off fellow RCV1000R rider Scott Redding and the Pramac Ducati of Yonny Hernández, but was over one minute from victory and 13 seconds behind top Open class rider Aleix Espargaro (Forward Yamaha).
“In the end we have come away with a positive result and I had fun fighting with a strong group of riders. This weekend hasn't been smooth for us. We've had some technical issues that have held us back so it was nice to at least go the full distance and gather a lot of data.
“It wasn't an easy race. There was a lot of tyre wear on the right. Even racing with Hernandez in the beginning was not easy because our bike was obviously working better than his in the corners and he'd come right past us on the straightaways. It's tough when you look at the trap speeds...
“Last year this was the worst GP for me. This weekend was tough too. We had the technical issues and I probably should have been more positive, but it was tough to go out in practice and only make it around half a lap, and only be faster than two guys all weekend in a straight-line.
“But I realise the road is tough and the rider has to be positive and carry everybody.”
Hayden's former Ducati team claimed their first podium since 2012, with Andrea Dovizioso on Sunday.