Nicky Hayden says he's thrilled with the race pace improvements made with the Honda but frustrated he couldn't demonstrate it with results.

The 2006 MotoGP world champion aimed to build upon his win in the wet at Sepang two weeks ago but after finding himself considerably off the pace at the end of Friday realised a return to the rostrum would prove tricky.

Having secured Honda's best result at Donington Park since 2011 with fifth place in race one, Hayden was confident of further gains in Sunday's race but with his rivals uncovering similar steps he had to settle for sixth after being pipped on the line by Leon Camier on the MV Agusta.

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"I'm a little bit bummed with the results because it was worse than race one even though I was much faster in race two," Hayden said. "I think the track was a little bit faster which helped but it is not an easy transition and of course I didn't expect it to be. But we keep going and try to get closer to the front.

"The team understand me a little bit better each race and I understand them. This weekend I must give a huge thanks for the way they improved the bike from Friday to Saturday to Sunday. I produced a 1m 28.1s in the race which is what I qualified with on so they did a great job."

After passing the halfway point in his 'rookie' World Superbike season Hayden is sixth in the riders' standings and just five points behind his Honda team-mate Michael van der Mark.

Having suffered two mechanical retirements in the opening three rounds the American rider says he hasn't focused on the championship and prefers to use this season to adjust to his new surroundings as he pushes for more rostrums.

"We've got to keep learning the bike, the championship and as a team keep eliminating problems," Hayden said. "Of course I would like to be closer to the podium later this year.

"I had two mechanical DNFs so really at that point I wasn't thinking about the championship. I would rather just have some good races. Of course I would like better results but I'm happy to be here for this opportunity with Honda."