Nicky Hayden has sealed fifth place in the final World Superbike riders' championship after an impressive pit-lane start to seventh place dash in the final race of the year in Qatar.
The former MotoGP world champion was forced from his second place grid slot to start with a five-second time penalty in the pit-lane after exceeding the number of permitted engines in a season.
Having benefitted from the red flag in the initial race to bunch the pack back up, Hayden carved his way up from 15th to seventh in the 10-lap sprint race which saw him round out a solid rookie year in World Superbikes with fifth in the final standings, narrowly behind Honda team-mate Michael van der Mark.
“Towards the end of the race yesterday we started experiencing a little bit of a problem,” Hayden said. We hoped it was due to some changes we made but as soon as I went out in the warm up it was still there so I only did one lap and that was it.
“The team had to change the engine and we had to start from the pit-lane, which is not nice but those are the rules.
“All things considered, given the time we also lost in warm up, it was not easy but we salvaged something. I want to thank the team, all my crew, the sponsors and everybody behind me: I'm now looking forward to next year.”
Having given the older Honda Fireblade a send off in Qatar, Hayden will commence work developing the new CBR1000RR into a championship-contender for 2017 as he aims to close the gap on Kawasaki and Ducati.