Nicky Hayden is raring to get back to action in the World Superbike championship as he heads to another new circuit and wants to enjoy the closing four rounds of his maiden campaign in the production bike series.
The Honda Racing rider currently sits sixth in the World Superbike riders' championship, effectively already out of the title race, but has reflected positively on his first experience in the series since moving from MotoGP.
In the extended summer break Hayden competed for Honda at the Suzuka 8 Hours, where his team suffered a heart-breaking mechanical DNF, while he has been a prominent fixture supporting his brother in MotoAmerica.
Looking to spark back into action, Hayden heads to another circuit he's never competed at in his racing career but after a progressive two-day test at the Lausitzring over the summer the former MotoGP world champion is feeling confident ahead of the challenge.
“In Lausitzring we've already made some good laps while working on a bit of a setup. We improved the bike a little bit, like we've been doing consistently this year,” Hayden said. “The track itself reminds me of some American circuits but the infield has got quite a good layout, compared to the majority of tracks built inside an oval. It has some long corners and a couple of fun ones, along with a little bit of elevation.
“We tested there but we're not really sure where we stack up in terms of pace because we were there with many other teams, but I'm sure we're going to find out really quick on Friday morning. I'm looking forward to this part of the season: there are four rounds and eight individual races left, so it'll be important for me to learn a few new tracks and try to have some fun.”
Without a championship battle to focus on Hayden will be solely targeting strong performances to add to his current podium and victory tally in 2016. The American has enjoyed three trips to the rostrum so far this season capped by a memorable win in the wet at Sepang.
Next year Hayden will be joined by another ex-MotoGP rider in Stefan Bradl who will replace Yamaha-bound Michael van der Mark in 2017, with the pair expected to compete with an all-new Fireblade CBR1000RR.