Nicky Hayden Top Open MotoGP Finisher At Le Mans

American Nicky Hayden scored his best finish of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship—11th, top “open” bike—on Sunday at the French Grand Prix in Le Mans.

Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo won the race, his second consecutive victory, over teammate and current series points-leader Valentino Rossi. Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso was third.

Hayden was gridded 14th, middle of the fifth row, after besting the rest of the open machines in qualifying. The Power Electronics Aspar rider was up to 10th by lap eight and remained there for 10 laps, at which point Suzuki factory rider Maverick Viñales passed him.

“The team did a great job,” Hayden said after the race. “It was good to start the race from further up the grid than we have been lately. Around 10 laps from the end, we had something going on with the electronics, which limited our pace toward the end of the race because the bike was acting strangely in second gear.”

Hayden admitted this season on the production Honda hasn’t been an easy. “It was nice to be able to take the bike where I wanted and fight with some of the factory riders,” he said. “To finish as the top open rider is a bonus.”

American Nicky Hayden scored his best finish of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship—11th, top “open” bike—on Sunday at the French Grand Prix in Le Mans.

Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo won the race, his second consecutive victory, over teammate and current series points-leader Valentino Rossi. Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso was third.

Hayden was gridded 14th, middle of the fifth row, after besting the rest of the open machines in qualifying. The Power Electronics Aspar rider was up to 10th by lap eight and remained there for 10 laps, at which point Suzuki factory rider Maverick Viñales passed him.

“The team did a great job,” Hayden said after the race. “It was good to start the race from further up the grid than we have been lately. Around 10 laps from the end, we had something going on with the electronics, which limited our pace toward the end of the race because the bike was acting strangely in second gear.”

Hayden admitted this season on the production Honda hasn’t been an easy. “It was nice to be able to take the bike where I wanted and fight with some of the factory riders,” he said. “To finish as the top open rider is a bonus.”

Nicky Hayden action Le Mans Aspar Honda

“My goal,” Nicky Hayden said after qualifying at Le Mans, “is to turn my best grid position of the season so far into my best result.”

Nicky Hayden qualifying Le Mans

Quickest of the open-class riders, Hayden joined front-row starters Marc Marquez, Andrea Dovizioso, and Jorge Lorenzo after qualifying for photos.

Nicky Hayden grid Le Mans

Hayden started Sunday’s French Grand Prix in 14th place, middle of the fifth row.

Nicky Hayden Le Mans race action

The Kentuckian lapped in the 1:34s from the start, battling with a group of factory riders, but came up short of a top-10 finish.

The sign in front of Hayden’s Power Electronics Aspar Honda says it all, “1st OPEN.”

Nicky Hayden Parc Ferme

Nicky Hayden celebrates his open-class victory with his ecstatic Power Electronics Aspar Honda team.