Nicky Hayden says he will savour his competitive debut at Imola as the World Superbike championship heads to Italy.

Despite the 2006 MotoGP world champion's extensive experience racing across the globe, this weekend marks the 34-year-old's competitive maiden outing at Imola in his rookie World Superbike campaign.

Hayden says he's always relished the chance to race in Italy, being an ex-Ducati rider in his MotoGP days, and is hoping to quickly become familiar with the circuit and pick up from his impressive performances last time out at Assen where he claimed his maiden WSBK podium.

"Racing in Italy is something I have always enjoyed in the past and I don't think in superbike it will be any different," Hayden said. "For what I've seen on videos, the track looks epic but I will need to work hard with the team from Thursday, having a look at the data and understanding the gearing and the layout.

"It looks a very technical track with a lot of elevation changes and I know from experience that if you notice them on TV it means that when you see them live they are twice as steep and on a bike even more! It's a track with a lot of history and I grew up watching my heroes racing there, so I'm looking forward to getting started."