Nicky Hayden and Hiroshi Aoyama both moved up several positions from the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas grid to take 11th and 12th in Texas.
The DRIVE M7 Aspar Team pair both saved their best for race day, with Hayden starting from 14th on the grid and fighting off Scott Redding and Yonny Hernandez in a race-long battle - to cross the line 11th in front of the home fans.
“To be honest the race went a lot better than I expected and obviously it was much better than the rest of the weekend,” said Hayden. “The team worked really hard all weekend, I gave the mechanics plenty to do and they did their best to give me the best possible bike. In the end we have come away with a positive result and I had fun fighting with a strong group of riders. The positive thing is we have more experience with this new bike and we know the season is long so we have to keep going to make the most of our potential.”
Meanwhile, Aoyama made progress with his front-end set-up to improve his pace and trade up his 16th place in qualifying for 12th place in the race.
The Japanese rider commented, “I think starting from 16th and finishing 12th, we have to be satisfied and it shows the progress we have made all weekend. I had a good start but with us going for the hard tyre we had to wait for the feeling to come in and as the laps went by I was able to close on the group in front and make some passes. In the end I almost caught Nicky so I am really happy and grateful to the team for giving me a great setting, the bike worked well and I felt better than in Qatar.”