After sitting out the last grand prix in Portugal due to a broken collarbone sustained during training, Nicky Hayden will be back in action for Repsol Honda at this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix, at Motegi.

"I'm real looking forward to getting back to action this weekend," said Nicky. "Portugal was so painful really. Not because of my collarbone, which now feels pretty good, but because it was so hard to see the guys out there and me not being able to mix it.

"The best thing to do was just to go and give the bone time to heal, but knowing there was a race on and I wasn't in it was real hard," he admitted. "The collarbone seems pretty solid as its plated and screwed and I guess is doing well as it was only broken just over two weeks ago and my knee is still pretty sore though its getting better every day."

Hayden will doubtless be hoping to repeat - or better - his performance at the 4.8km track in his rookie season last year: The record books show that the then 22-year-old scored his first MotoGP podium in the event, but he was actually elevated from fourth to third after Makoto Tamada was ruled by race direction to have made a dangerous overtaking move on Sete Gibernau in the closing stages. Tamada was later disqualified and Hayden awarded 16 points.

With high-ranking Honda officials becoming increasingly vocal in their disappointment at the factory team's results this season, a strong ride in front of those same officials - at the Honda owned circuit - would help reassure HRC that Hayden is their future.

"I like Motegi - the tunnels are kinda' cool - and want to look at the race as being the first race in the next part of the season," explained the American. "There have been some good parts to this year but it hasn't gone totally to plan. I so want to finish the year on a high and I'll be doing everything I can to make it happen."



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