Aspar Honda riders Nicky Hayden and Eugene Laverty were both held back by electronic issues in Sunday's season-opening Qatar MotoGP.

Hayden was among the few to race the special Open class soft rear tyre and exploited the early grip to rise from 17th to 13th and ahead of factory class Honda rider Scott Redding. But when the grip from his rear tyre dropped, the American's traction control began to overcompensate.

"Today I made a decent start that allowed me to climb several positions right away," Hayden confirmed. "At the beginning of the race I rode well, the feeling was optimal and I pushed hard, trying to catch Redding. I saw that I was slowly catching him, but mid-race the tyre performance dropped dramatically.

Related Articles

"We had chosen the softer compound and when it wore out I started to suffer electronic problems. The traction control was triggered too often and I could barely ride. Still, I think we learned a lot in the race; it is clear that we have to work with Honda to make the bike work better with used tyres.

"Also, we need more support from Magneti Marelli to better manage this electronics package. In any case, the team did a great job."

Making his MotoGP race debut, team-mate Laverty had more severe electronic problems with what was thought to be a sensor fault causing his RC213V-RS to misbehave from the start.

The Irishman modified his riding style but the problems meant he was unable to put up a fight and finished in 18th.

"Unfortunately I suffered electronic problems right from the start of the race, and I couldn't ride as I had hoped," he said. "I was losing a lot of time compared to my laps from the rest of the weekend. It was not how I was hoping to debut in MotoGP but at least I managed to finish the race.

"Despite the setbacks I have tried to adapt to what I had. Apart from the race, we must be positive; we have progressed a lot over the weekend, we should take that from here and believe that in Austin we can keep improving."