Nicky Hayden says he leaves his maiden race weekend in Thailand with a smile on his face but felt his development in World Superbikes was hit when he suffered a mechanical retirement in race one.

The 2006 MotoGP world champion had been producing consistent top six pace all weekend at the Chang International Circuit but a sensor fault ended his challenge in race one and despite solid fightback with fifth place in Sunday's race two he lost vital ground to his WSBK rivals, slipping to eighth in the standings.

Despite the mixed results Hayden says he's happy to continue his climb up a steep learning curve on new machinery and at a new circuit and is keen to uncover more from the Honda Fireblade next month at Aragon.

"We made a lot of changes overnight [on Saturday] and I simply just felt more comfortable, maybe not perfect but surely the improvement was there and was quite a good one," Hayden said. "I was able to ride without making mistakes and the bike was perfectly smooth.

"I didn't get the best of starts and was not fast enough in the first laps to be aggressive and make passes. As the laps went by I felt more and more comfortable; towards the end I started to set my fastest laps of the race and this is very positive.

"I would lie if I didn't say that after the warm-up I thought I could have put up a better fight, but nonetheless I learned a lot again and overall it was a good weekend."



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