Nicky Hayden is already focusing on fighting back at Sepang after a frustrating debut at Imola with Honda Racing having struggled to two lowly top 10 finishes.

The World Superbike rookie had been relishing the prospect of getting to grips with the Italian circuit having never competed at the track before and despite gelling with it he was unable to produce a strong set-up.

As a result, Hayden was considerably off the pace of the front-runners compared to last time out when he claimed a maiden WSBK rostrum at Assen and could only notch up ninth and eighth place finishes.

"We made some changes overnight [between race one and two] that unfortunately we couldn't try during the warm up as the track was still partially wet," Hayden said. "We decided to keep the settings for the race anyway and the bike was a little bit better; I was able to make the same lap-times as in race one despite using the harder tyre, which we had to choose given the lower temperatures compared to yesterday.

"Maybe it took me a little longer to understand the changes at the beginning and that cost me a bit of time. Overall it has been a difficult weekend; regardless, the team was able to improve the bike over the weekend and I had to learn the track, which in the end wasn't too difficult."

Hayden has slipped to seventh in the World Superbike riders' standings and will be keen to make amends at a circuit he is much more familiar with at Sepang from his years in MotoGP.



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