Casey Stoner admitted he was surprised to be so far down the Indianapolis Grand Prix grid - but expects to regain the lost ground in tomorrow's race.
While his Ducati team-mate Nicky Hayden fought for pole and will start third, Stoner had to settle for a distant sixth on the grid.
The Australian said Ducati had got its practice tactics wrong, and while it had been quickest in both sessions before qualifying, it was ill-prepared for the final pole shoot-out.
"I'm not very happy with this afternoon's qualifying session, we expected to be a little faster," Stoner conceded.
"During the session we struggled to find the grip with the hard tire so we spent a lot of time trying to fix it and unfortunately we tried a couple of different things and then when we switched immediately to soft tires we had trouble with the setting and we didn't have a lot of feeling."
Stoner is confident that he will make rapid progress through the field once in race trim, though.
"I'm a little disappointed for sure but I think we can expect a little bit better race pace, so I'm confident enough for tomorrow," he said.
"I think we should have a bit better race pace than some of the riders in front of us today."