Nicky Hayden and Ducati will use the two week break before the French Grand Prix to try and iron out the unusual set-up problems the American is having with his factory Desmosedici.
Most riders were worried about conserving tyres during Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix, but Hayden has the opposite problem. The American is still unable to use the harder of the Bridgestone rear tyre options and even struggled to get the softer option up to temperature at Jerez.
While all other riders set their best race lap by lap 5, Hayden's came on lap 17 of 27 - and despite being one of only three riders using the softer rear (alongside Pramac Ducati riders Mike Kallio and Niccolo Canepa) while all others opted for the harder compound.
The 2006 world champion, who qualified 16th, crossed the finish line in 15th, over one minute behind race winner Valentino Rossi and ahead of only rookie Canepa.
“I was nervous that physically it would be a tough race but it turned out to be a lot worse than we expected,” said Nicky, whose team-mate Casey Stoner finished third. “In the beginning I struggled a lot again with a full fuel load and I made a mistake on the first lap - I was trying to make some positions up and I actually lost some.
“I tried to recover but something was wrong with the set-up of the bike. I can't make the harder compound work well with my bike and I have to go with the softer one but today even those didn't start to work well until I got a lot of heat into them.
“I did my best time on the 17th lap so there is something we have definitely to work on with the team. We need to look at the data and think up something different for the next one,” he declared.
“It has been a really difficult grand prix for Nicky on the back of two tough weekends and two crashes,” commented Ducati Marlboro team boss Livio Suppo. “We have a little break now during which time we can sit down and work out how to get him back to the level he was at in the winter tests, which would lift him much higher up the order.”