Nicky Hayden says he is under no illusions about his chances in this weekend's San Marino Grand Prix despite taking his first podium finish for Ducati at Indianapolis in the last round.
After struggling to acclimatize to the Ducati GP9 earlier in the season, Hayden scored a breakthrough third place in his homeland. But his result was due in part to Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa's crashes, so Hayden admitted that it was too early to suggest that he would now be a top three contender for the rest of the season.
"I know it won't be easy and I can't get over-confident even though everything went so well at Indy," he said. "I've learned that this bike can quickly put you back in your place if you get cocky, so once again I'll just be putting my head down and giving it my maximum."
But team boss Livio Suppo said he was optimistic that Hayden could now gain momentum.
"We arrive at Misano in high spirits thanks to Nicky's excellent performance at Indy and we are happy to be getting back on track and hopefully continue with this positive trend of results," he said.
Mika Kallio will again partner Hayden for Misano as Casey Stoner continues to recover from the illness that has marred his season. With Stoner set to return for Estoril, Misano is scheduled to be Kallio's last appearance with the factory Ducati team, and Suppo wants to see him leave the team on a high.
"I really hope he is able to reap the fruit of all his recent hard work," said the team boss. "He has demonstrated during his debut season in MotoGP that he has what it takes to do well and I'm sure he will confirm his potential soon."
Kallio, who crashed on his Ducati debut at Brno but took eighth at Indianapolis, said he had yet to get the bike set up to his liking.
"I equaled my best ever MotoGP result at Indianapolis and even though the race went better than practice I still wasn't satisfied," he said. "My main objective now is to find another half a second off my lap times and to do that I simply need to find more confidence in the front end of the bike. I know the potential is there so hopefully I can make the most of it at Misano."