Nicky Hayden says his third place in today's MotoGP race at Indianapolis felt as good as a victory.
The Ducati rider scored his first podium of the season in his home race today and believes he is beginning to turn around the disappointing season he has had so far.
"It feels really good -- it's not a win but it feels like one," Hayden said. "As everyone knows, it's been hard -- the hardest challenge of my life.
"Today to be on the podium in front of my home crowd is amazing, just a big thanks to my team and everybody that hung in there. It's been hard but we're on our way."
Hayden also praised to Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso, who pushed him hard in the closing laps but eventually had to settle for fourth.
"Dovi really made me earn it, so congratulations to him. I was feeling the heat late on but I wasn't bringing home anything less than a podium," said Hayden. "I knew I needed a little break to get it, but we've got it."