Hayden insists MotoGP one-off is no "comeback"

Nicky Hayden, the 2006 MotoGP champion, insists that his return outing with Marc VDS Honda at Motorland Aragon is not a full-on "comeback".

Hayden insists MotoGP one-off is no "comeback"
Nicky Hayden, Honda World Superbike Team
Nicky Hayden, Honda World Superbike Team
Jack Miller, Marc VDS Racing Honda
Jack Miller, Marc VDS Racing Honda crash
Nicky Hayden, Honda World Superbike Team
Nicky Hayden, Aspar MotoGP Team
Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda Team

Hayden, 35, left MotoGP for a factory Honda seat in World Superbikes last year, but will be making a return in this weekend's Aragon Grand Prix, replacing the injured Jack Miller.

Talking to the media before the event, the American confirmed he remains keen on MotoGP, but was quick to point out that he was not seeking to return for good.

"This isn't a comeback or nothing like that, to be clear," Hayden said.

"Superbikes are my home now, my goals are there. This is a chance to come ride a good bike, a good team, Honda Europe was behind the idea - and you know me, I wasn't going to say no.

"I don't like to come back replacing a guy who's hurt, especially Jack, who's a buddy of mine. But I will say I'm happy to have the opportunity. Very excited.

"Of course, I'm also very curious to see the bike, the team, everything. I like Superbike but it's not like riding a MotoGP bike. I hope I can get a good feeling quick enough, to be able to push hard enough, get close to the limit where it's fun."

The 35-year-old says that, despite his relatively recent experience in MotoGP, the return race will be a serious challenge.

"I'm expecting to get a workout - but in Superbike, with the schedule being more relaxed, I've been healthy, got no excuses for my fitness.

"It's true the races are longer, it's not going to be no cakewalk, but we'll see. Luckily, this is not Laguna [Seca] or Jerez, it's pretty flowing, long straightaways."

No regrets over 2015 exit

Commenting on MotoGP's first season since his exit, Hayden said: "MotoGP's in a really great place, this year has been incredible. Who would've guessed that many different winners? Okay, the weather played into it, but still.

"It's been quite unpredictable. [Valentino] Rossi's still the star of the show, which is great for everybody, and new faces... I think the racing's been really exciting, I think the electronics have made a big difference, it don't look like it's gotten any easier. For sure, it's as tough as ever, but as a fan, it looks good."

Asked whether the quality of the 2016 campaign so far leaves him regretting his decision to call time on his MotoGP stint, Hayden insisted: "Not really. I got a good home now, in Superbike there, good opportunity.

"I had my chances here. I got 13 years. Some better than others, obviously. I can't say that [I'm regretting it], no."

Additional reporting by Lena Buffa

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