Nicky Hayden believes he can show his true pace in tomorrow's Indianapolis Grand Prix having qualified on the front row for the first time since joining Ducati last season.
The 2006 world champion feels poor qualifying results have compromised his race chances this year, and thinks being able to run with the leaders from the outset on Sunday will make a huge difference to his chances.
"It's actually my first front row on a Ducati - it only took a year and a half, but I'm happy with it," Hayden said. "It's really important here for the race. I know my race pace and I know if I want to fight in the lead pack I don't want to start seventh or eighth and have to be picking them off."
Two of MotoGP's three American riders fought for pole at Indianapolis, with the top spot eventually going to Tech 3 Yamaha's Ben Spies. Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo splits the two home riders on the front row.
Hayden hopes his and Spies' performances will boost the Indy crowd's interest in MotoGP, with the event having yet to capture the imagination of the fans in the manner that had been hoped.
"Two Americans on the front row is great for MotoGP in America and everyone who supports it," said Hayden. "Hopefully that will bring a big crowd tomorrow and we can put on a good show. Let's go for it."