Valentino Rossi insisted there were reasons for optimism for Ducati even though he only finished ninth in the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez.
The MotoGP legend had qualified a disastrous 13th and did not make dramatic progress in the race, but was confident that what he had learned in Spain would help Ducati in future rounds. His teammate Nicky Hayden started on the front row before slipping to eighth in the race.
"The positive thing from today's race is that I think it might help us to do a bit better in the coming events, starting next week in Portugal," said Rossi. "Today we used a setup that's new for us, and it gave some positive signs.
"First we tried some solutions to give me a feeling similar to what I've had in the past, but it doesn't work. Today's setting was very similar to what Nicky has used for a while, though not exactly the same. I must get used to riding the bike a bit differently than I'm used to, and today that caused me to lose some ground in the early laps because I was basically starting blind.
"I wasn't going bad once I found my rhythm, in the sense that I was matching the times of those who were fighting for sixth place, and I was able to push until the end, doing a 1m41.0s on the penultimate lap. This helps me to be a little more optimistic as I look ahead to the next races because if I'm able to ride a bit better, it could be a place for us to start from. In fact, we'll use this setting when we start on Friday."
Hayden said his slump had been due to using up his tires too early.
"It was fun for a couple of laps," said the American. "We know our bike is great at generating heat in the tires, and for the first few laps, I was able do what I wanted. Then about the time it looked like the other guys' tires came up to temperature, mine had already started losing grip, especially in the front."