Honda is hopeful of lining up Nicky Hayden to compete at the Suzuka 8 Hours but the final decision on whether the American will race won't be made until the end of June.
The 2006 MotoGP world champion made the switch to World Superbikes over the winter moving to the Ten Kate-prepared Honda squad, claiming an impressive maiden victory in the series in a wet race two at Sepang.
Having made the full-time transition to production bike racing on the Honda CBR1000RR SP, Honda is keen for Hayden to return to the prestigious endurance event this year with familiar specification machinery but a final decision won't be confirmed until the end of the month.
“Of course the first priority for Nicky is the World Superbike championship, but we hope to have Nicky at the Suzuka 8 Hours,” a HRC spokesman told Crash.net
. “He is still not confirmed. We will decide by end of June.”
The Ten Kate Honda squad has also confirmed it is happy to allow Hayden to race at Suzuka and is awaiting a final decision from the manufacturer.
"Nicky is one of the candidates and of course we would be proud as a team to have him racing the 8 Hours, but ultimately it's HRC's decision," a Ten Kate Racing spokesman added.
Hayden has competed at the Suzuka 8 Hours before with Honda in 2003, when he was team-mates with current British Superbike rider Ryuichi Kiyonari, but the pair failed to finish after a chaotic oil spill on the opening lap saw the American crash out.
Hayden currently sits sixth in the World Superbike riders' championship, five points off of team-mate Michael van der Mark, with the highlight of his race two win in Malaysia plus a rostrum result in race two in Assen.