Aspar Honda rider Nicky Hayden says he is pleased with the progress his recovering right wrist is making during the winter lay-off.
The American underwent major surgery last summer to try and cure a persistent right wrist injury that had plagued the American since he was involved in a multi-rider pile-up at the final round in Valencia back in 2011.
The 2006 world champion encountered issues again in the early part of the 2014 campaign and understanding that major surgery was required, he sat out his home race in Indianapolis and further races in Brno, Silverstone and Misano while he recovered.
Hayden returned to action at Motorland Aragon and scored points in four of the last five races while trying to recover strength and movement in the wrist.
Hayden, who will ride Honda’s upgraded RC213V-RS Open class bike in 2015 with Eugene Laverty as his teammate, said his wrist is recovering well in advance of a return to track action at Sepang in early February.
Hayden said: “I feel better every day. It wasn't easy to get back on the bike after the type of surgery I went through. It was a serious operation. They had to remove three bones from my wrist. I was able to control the pain and ride again, even though I wasn't back to my normal level, but gradually I recovered strength and feeling. It is good for me that the season is over because it's a chance to continue the recovery. Since the end of the season I have been having injections of platelet-rich plasma. I have let my hand rest but I have also been doing a lot of work with the physio.”
Speaking about his objectives for his second season with the high profile Drive M7 Aspar squad, Hayden added: “My main objective is to enjoy riding again. I don't want to talk about last season anymore. It's over. I am focused on getting back to full fitness, riding like I know I can and getting some good results to put 2014 behind us. Right now I am the only American rider in the world championship. That's not a fact I like but it is my responsibility to represent my country until the next generation come through. Hopefully I can do the best job possible to make my people proud.”
Hayden finished 2014 in 16th place in the rankings with a best result of eighth in the opening round in Qatar.