American Nicky Hayden could not hide his disappointment as he bowed out of Honda’s factory Honda squad with fifth place in Valencia today.
Hayden was quickly passed on the first lap by compatriot Colin Edwards, and while he briefly moved back into third, he had no response to the pace being run at the front by Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa.
He was passed by Italian duo Andrea Dovizioso and Valentino Rossi in quick succession on lap six and he was left to ride home in a lowly fifth.
Hayden, who had topped all three free practice sessions and claimed a front row start, walked away unhurt from a big crash in this morning’s warm-up session and he said: ““We started out the weekend like a bit of a fairytale – fastest in the first three sessions, so we were off to a good start, I think the conditions were better for us then.
"Yesterday afternoon we were third and on the front row, then this morning we had big off which probably didn’t help things. I just lost the front at turn nine; maybe conditions were a bit too cool for that front tyre.
"I had to swap bikes for the race and my crew had to change a lot of stuff: callipers, swingarm and so on. My other bike didn’t feel so smooth. It wasn’t too bad but I definitely liked my first bike better, but that was my fault.
"In the race I didn’t quite get the start I wanted and those guys were just quicker in the beginning, my rhythm wasn’t quick enough. It obviously would’ve been better to finish my last race with Honda a bit stronger.
"I rode hard this weekend, now I’m looking forward to doing something different. I have to finish off by saying thanks to my team, to Honda, to Michelin and to everybody here. They made me a world champ, I’m grateful to them all.”