A late crash in Saturday's qualifying session for the Grand Prix of Catalunya contributed to Nicky Hayden being left 13th on the grid, albeit just 0.275sec from fifth position.

The American had made his biggest breakthrough of the season so far on the Desmosedici GP9 in Barcelona, lapping sixth fastest in Friday's opening free practice and then tenth this morning following a major overhaul of his set-up and electronics package.

Although progress was slower on Saturday, Hayden still has an excellent chance of claiming his best race finish so far this season, having taken the chequered flag no higher than twelfth in the five rounds so far.

"Today we weren't quite able to pick up where we left off yesterday but I went half a second quicker this morning - unfortunately it wasn't enough to close the gap on the guys in front because they improved too," said Nicky.

"I shaved another couple of tenths off again this afternoon but on my last run I crashed in turn two and that was pretty much that. The position isn't great but on the other hand with just a couple more tenths I'd have been a lot further up.

"I know I'm talking a lot of 'ifs' and 'buts' here and at the end of the day the position is what counts and we're not high enough up. It's just a shame that on the lap when I'm sure I would have found those extra couple of tenths the rear stepped out in turn one and when I flicked it over into turn two it put me down pretty good.

"I smacked my left wrist quite hard but I don't think it's a big issue and other than that I seem to be okay so we're looking forward to trying for more tomorrow," he added.