Nicky Hayden is optimistic he is on course for a strong weekend in the Spanish Grand Prix after emerging as the top Open class Honda in tenth overall.

Having made frequent reference to the Honda's relative lack of top speed and pace, particularly when compared with the pace-setting Forward Yamaha of Aleix Espargaro, Hayden came into the weekend more confident that the tighter Jerez circuit will prove more beneficial to the bike.

And so it proved, Hayden taking the Drive M7 Aspar machine to tenth place overall in a session that saw just 2.5secs covering the entire field.

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"The bike is working pretty good and this afternoon the track changed a lot with the hotter temperature so we evaluated our front tyres and got some data. We're a bit closer here than we have been at other tracks and that's very encouraging and definitely makes it a little more fun. The weekend is going to be tough in these conditions for the tyres and the riders. When it gets hot and greasy here it's tough but considering the other races we'll see what happens.

"It's a small track and the gap from first to last is only 2.5s and for sure the engine isn't [as important]. the back straight is downhill and off the last corner on the front straight is more of a problem accelerating off the slow corners but top speed isn't hindering us too badly compared to losing half a second at the other tracks.

Touching on the speed differential between his Honda and its Yamaha-engined rival, Hayden says he doesn't expect any upgrades to be forthcoming just yet.

"I don't expect upgrades anytime soon. We tested the adjustable pivot heights before and maybe on Monday I'll go back and use it again but it's not the plan for this weekend."