Nicky Hayden believes he made progress with his Ducati's set-up during qualifying at Mugello, even though he fell back to 16th place.
The American admitted he has starting to become 'demoralised' yesterday after struggling to 15th in practice, especially as he had desperately hoped to start a resurgence at Ducati's home track.
But despite his position actually being worse today, Hayden felt he had actually moved closer to getting the GP9 to his liking.
"I know we're in the same position on the time sheets, worse in fact, but actually the feeling with the bike got better as the session went on this afternoon and the lap time improved quite a lot from the morning," he said.
"We still have a big gap to make up and we need to make a major step if want to be competitive but anything can happen at this track. We've got many engineers here from Bologna so hopefully they can help me out a bit."
He added that the third sector of the track was his weak point at present.
"My pace through T1 is acceptable but I'm the slowest guy out there through T3 so that's what we'll be focusing on tonight I think," he said.
Hayden was 1.9 seconds slower than his team-mate Casey Stoner, who will start second.