Nicky Hayden makes his return to Honda in 2014. (Photo: Getty Images)

makes his return to Honda in 2014. (Photo: Getty Images)

Nicky Hayden’s reuniting with a Honda motorcycle will be a potent combination in this year. That is the opinion of former World Championship star , who looks forward to witnessing Hayden’s switch to Drive M7 Aspar Team.

Both Hayden and teammate Hiroshi Aoyama will compete this season on the new Honda RCV1000R, running to ‘Open’ regulations; amongst other things, this means both the American and Japanese will enjoy four extra litres of fuel over the Factory-entered bikes across a race distance, while using the spec Dorna ECU.

Although Spanish riders won all three titles in 2013 and from the outset look strong again ahead of this season, Mamola credits all for their achievements while believing there will be even more to be excited about over the coming months.

“(In Spain) you’ve got the upper hand of sponsorship and the investment that was done years ago, which the Americans had 30 years ago,” Mamola begins. “It’s the fruit growing from the tree. You can’t take anything away from the Spanish riders. When I am at the race track, although I see the Spanish flag and hear the Spanish national anthem, I just see them as great athletes down the line in the three classes.

“Definitely, though, Nicky on a Honda again is going to be something. He is the 2006 World Champion and they are hoping to get that package right; in fact, you couldn’t have picked a better group than team Aspar to put something like that together.”

Mamola competed on the World Championship stage between 1979 and 1992, finishing runner-up in the premier 500 class on four occasions (1980 and 1981 with Suzuki, plus 1984 with Honda and 1987 with Yamaha). Nowadays, he manages Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Bradley Smith as well as nurturing the career of son Dakota, who is again looking to compete in Spain’s CEV championship.