Nicky Hayden would be in trouble with his father Earl if he said he didn't like the Le Mans circuit, venue for this weekend's French MotoGP, but the American admits it's not his favourite.

Le Mans is one of the few tracks where the former world champion has never claimed a MotoGP podium finish, while the stop-go nature of the Bugatti layout is likely to punish the present lack of engine performance from his Open class Honda.

"Le Mans has never been a great track for me personally and truthfully it's not my favourite, but when we were kids my dad never let us say we don't like a track so I never say it!" said the Drive M7 Aspar rider.

"What I can say is that there are some fun corners and great fans. Unfortunately for us at the moment there is a lot of acceleration coming out of slow corners, which is not the strongest point of our bike."

Hayden was hampered at the recent Spanish round by an inflammation of the right wrist that required surgery during the winter. It didn't stop him from racing at Jerez, but did rule him out of the post-race test.

"I need to understand how much my wrist irritation from Jerez has improved and try to keep the progress we made in Spain rolling, go have so fun and go fast!" said Hayden.

Hayden is currently second in the Open class standings, seven points behind Aleix Espargaro (Forward Yamaha) and four points ahead of team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama.

"We have been in good form over the first four races of the season and we have improved the set-up of our bike a lot, especially during the test following the race at Jerez," said the Japanese. "We found some things that I am looking forward to trying out at Le Mans.

"It will be a difficult circuit for us with so many straights and slow corners where you need to get the bike stopped. Anyway, we go there full of motivation and determined to maintain our good form from Jerez."


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If he does well enough to stay and get a better bike even, I believe that a year like this will be good for Hayden. He's being forced to ride possibly the best of his career and work non-stop on setup (not that he hasn't worked hard before). I see a better version of Nicky racing next year, wherever he is.