Nicky Hayden claimed his best race result since round one in Qatar on his MotoGP return from wrist surgery at Aragon.

The Drive M7 Aspar Honda rider finished ninth in the tricky dry-wet conditions, which forced a late-race bike swap.

"The race was tough because there were some spots of race right from the beginning. I didn't want to take big, silly risks. I wanted to finish today," said Hayden, who had missed the past four events after major surgery on his right wrist.

"This track has a lot of elevation changes and as the rain came down harder the flags were being waved, but you don't know really know where it's wet. That's the hard part.

"You drop down the 'corkscrew', go down the back straight at 215mph and brake, but you can't really know. That's very challenging. I had a medium [tint] visor because it was bright and normally in the wet I'd wear a full clear. It was really hard to see where it was wet and where it wasn't.

"Nothing heroic," he summed up. "Managed to stay on, finish the race in the top ten and get some pretty good points so we gotta be happy."

Hayden had been among the first to make his pit stop to change bikes.

"I was in 15th and it was raining pretty good. The last report I had on the grid was rain at 2:15pm. Our radar it wouldn't be a couple of drops, it would be real rain. So based on that I came in as soon as I felt some real rain. I didn't want to ride on slicks in the wet right now. Not for 15th!" he said.

"From the outside it looks easier to know when to pit, but when you are out there things are happening fast... I don't know why Marc [Marquez] stayed out so long, even he is human."

While the Sunday Aragon weather meant Hayden's healing wrist didn't get a full MotoGP work out, that will change next time in Japan.

"Motegi will be the toughest on the wrist. They had to change the rules for [bigger] brakes for that track! I've got a week to prepare, then get through that one."

Hayden will now head home to America to continue his rehab, where he plans to mix on-bike training with PRP (Platelet-rich plasma) injections, which help stimulate bone and soft tissue healing.

"This week I hope to do a bit more riding and I was also getting PRP injections. I should be nearly ready for another one of those soon. They help a lot but you can't do it all the time. They take your blood, spin it and inject it back into the injury sight. It's plasma rich platelets and it's really good for healing."

Team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama was the top Open class Honda rider, in eighth.



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