Nicky Hayden remains confident that he is on the brink of getting to grips with the Ducati GP9, despite struggling again in qualifying at Jerez.
The 2006 world champion has so far been unable to match team-mate Casey Stoner's speed since joining from Honda, and has not been helped by a massive qualifying crash at Losail and a first lap tangle with Yuki Takahashi in Japan.
Hayden was only 16th fastest in qualifying yesterday, but believes it will only take minor changes to start getting the full potential out of the GP9.
"I believe a lot in myself and the team, so I literally feel like it's right around the corner," he told AUTOSPORT. "It's just going to take one little deal to understand it, and then the rider makes the difference."
The American hopes that the next race at Le Mans will be his strongest of the season so far, as he reckons his issues with the bike will be less of a factor at the French venue.
"This bike's very stable on the brakes and it certainly accelerates well, so I'd hope Le Mans would be good for us," he said.
"Japan should've been a good track for me with this bike because on the brakes I'm quite good actually, compared to Casey I don't lose any time and it's a lot of start/stop. France has a lot of that too."
Hayden put his poor qualifying performance in Spain down to the strong wind upsetting the bike's set-up, and some over-riding on his part after a promising practice run.
"In the wind it made it very sensitive," he said. "I thought in the morning we had quite a good session. We were quite consistent. I started on old tyres and was not far away.
"Maybe I was too excited for qualifying because I really thought I had a chance to not really shake things up, but I thought I could be competitive. It turned out that we made a little change to the shock and we went out and whether it was the wind or the shock, but I certainly had some issues."