By Stephen English

Having announced his 2014 Aspar-Honda deal on Thursday, Ducati's Nicky Hayden went on to celebrate his best result since the Italian MotoGP with seventh in Australia.

Speaking after the race, which required a change of bikes due to adverse tyre wear, the Kentucky Kid looked at the 'emergency' format race as an opportunity for the sport to grow.

"People can complain or look for reasons to complain, but I think that it was exciting and I'm sure more people watched than normal," said the 2006 world champion.

"It was a shame that we had the tyre problems but Bridgestone should have really come here and tested; there's no doubt about that. But to be fair since I've been a Bridgestone rider this is the first time that we've had this problem."

Hayden battled with Bradley Smith mid-race, eventually finishing four seconds behind the Yamaha rider but a similar distance ahead of the fellow Ducatis of Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso.

Hayden credited his pit strategy with helping him jump ahead of the other Desmosedicis.

"The pit strategy probably worked out in my favour. I had been stuck racing with Dovi and Iannone but I couldn't get away from them because of the draft so I waited and did the opposite of what they did. When they came into the pits I just put my head down, a really quick in-lap and was able to pull a good gap. I caught Bradley but he picked up his pace right as my tyre was going away."

With the race only shortened to 19 laps after the morning warm-up Hayden - like the other riders - had been expecting to complete 14 laps on the hard tyres during the race. Hayden r was one of only three riders to complete a stint of more than 12 laps on one set of tyres and it was clear why the organisers felt the need to shorten the race again:

"The grip didn't really go down a whole lot but we only did ten laps. The first drop was after three laps which is normal. I didn't see a tyre cut open but this morning my tyre was really bad. I had chunks taken out of it. I didn't stop and did 13 laps on it at a decent pace and on the last lap I had to slow down because it was chunking."



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