Nicky Hayden secured his best grid position of the season in qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island, but admitted afterward that sixth position was no reason to celebrate for the former champion.
Ducati has struggled for pace through the weekend at a circuit it generally excels on. Hayden has been the faster of its riders with Valentino Rossi lost in set-up woes, but the American remains realistic about converting his first second row grid slot of the year.
"For a while today, I thought I could do even better," said Hayden. "It's good, but we're not celebrating sixth place since we expect a lot when we come to Phillip Island.
"The main thing for tomorrow will be to figure out how to get the tyres to last over race distance, and I'm having to use some strange lines to miss all the bumps. I lost a bit of time when one front tyre didn't come in, but other than that, I've got no excuses. I had good, clear laps, and I went about as fast as I could.
"Tomorrow will be my 150th Grand Prix in the premier class, and I'm proud to be here that long and still be on a factory team. With this grid position, it would be nice to get our best dry result tomorrow. It will be very tough because a lot of guys are going quick, but we'll try."
Rossi was despondent to be down in 13th having failed to overcome the issues he faced throughout Friday's practice.
"Before we arrived here, we expected to do much better than this, considering that Phillip Island is a track where Ducati and I have always done well," said the Italian. "Instead, I again had trouble riding today, and I was very slow. It's really a shame, and I'm very sorry. Evidently we haven't managed to solve the problems we've had since the first session here.
"We'll try to make some small changes in tomorrow's warm-up, but although we'll certainly try to do better than this, I'm expecting a very challenging race."