American motorcycle racer Nicky Hayden was left disappointed after narrowly missing out on a podium in his first weekend in the World Superbike Championship since leaving MotoGP.
2006 world champion Hayden announced last fall that he would be moving into WorldSBK for 2016 with Honda, ending his 13-year stint in MotoGP.
Hayden previously took part in just two WorldSBK races back in 2002 at Laguna Seca as a one-off appearance, finishing fourth and 13th for Honda.
The opening race of the 2016 season took place at Philip Island in Australia, where Hayden finished ninth on Saturday.
After qualifying seventh for Sunday’s race, Hayden picked his way through the field to ultimately finish fourth as just 1.5 seconds separated him from winner and defending champion Jonathan Rea.
“I’m definitely a bit disappointed for not getting onto the podium this time, it would have been great to celebrate my first round with a top-three finish,” Hayden said, having lost third place on the last lap of the race.
“On the last lap I knew [Davide] Giugliano was there and I tried to protect my position a little bit going into Lukey Heights, then I kind of missed the line between Turn 10 and 11.
“He squared it up and drove past me. I was trying to open the gas but all I was getting was traction control cutting in. I should have taken off more traction control in the last two laps.”