Nicky Hayden credited modern medicine and safer racetracks for allowing him to make his 200th MotoGP start, in front of his home American fans, at Austin this weekend.

The 2006 world champion admitted his future was in doubt after last year's persistent right wrist problems, which prompted two rounds of surgery, the last of which involved the removal of some small bones.

Thankfully the operation was a success.

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"My wrist, compared to before I had surgery I would say its 80% better," the Aspar Honda rider said in Texas on Thursday. "We know at Mugello [before the first surgery] I basically couldn't even ride anymore. I couldn't even get it in a glove.

"So I'm very thankful that modern medicine has helped me keep going, because this surgery may not have been possible some years ago. I think that's definitely why we're at 200. Today the tracks are safer and also the medicine is better.

"I'm still seeing progress with the wrist by the month. The Doctors said that is normal up and I could keep getting better up to a year after the surgery."

Asked to pick his most memorable MotoGP races since his 2003, Hayden replied:

"Some are memorable for the wrong reasons! Probably some of those stick out more than the others, but of course winning at home for the first time [Laguna Seca 2005] was special and then winning the world championship. Those were two pretty good days. Hard to top those two moments."

Hayden arrives in Austin after finishing 17th on his race debut with the new RC213V-RS in Qatar.

"We're a lot closer but the trouble is we are further back in position just because the level this year is extremely high. I think Dorna and MotoGP must be very proud of what they have presented because the fans are getting an incredible show. Lot of really good riders on really good equipment. So we've got to do a better job than Qatar to put our name in the mix.

"The [2015] bike is more powerful than last year so it makes sense that the electronics are a bigger issue. We really need to focus more on that to take the extra power but the rest of the bike is not a big difference."