Nicky Hayden says being put on the backfoot through Friday's free practice sessions he never had time to find a confident set-up to battle at the front as he leaves Magny-Cours with only a handful of points.

The Honda Racing rider was making his competitive debut at the French circuit but felt a difficult practice day left him without a package he could use refining throughout the race weekend.

Hayden's rhythm was further disrupted in the wet-to-dry race one when pitting early for dry tyres only to pick up a technical issue shortly after and was forced to retire.

Aiming to battle back in the dry the former MotoGP world champion explained a lack of clean running time saw him fade off as the race wore on as he managed to get home in ninth place.

The results see him drop to 32 points behind Michael van der Mark in the battle for the top Honda spot and fourth in the World Superbike championship standings.

"It hadn't been the smoothest of weekends for us," Hayden said. "I got a good start but lost some places at turn four [in race two], which I wasn't able to get back. I had a little problem with engine braking and towards the end I picked up some vibration that hurt me in the battle for sixth.

"The reality is that I got behind on Friday morning; also it would have been nice to do some laps in the dry yesterday in race one, but that didn't happen. In the end, it was a combination of things and I was never able to catch up.

"It's never nice to end the weekend with this feeling, but it is what it is. Now it's time to look forward to Jerez, a track I really like."

Hayden will wrap up his maiden campaign in World Superbikes at tracks he is very familiar with from his MotoGP days at Jerez before the season finale in Qatar.

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