After a punishing start to his Ducati career, double US Grand Prix winner Nicky Hayden isn't expecting any miracles for his home event.
The 2006 world champion arrives at round eight just 13th in the championship standings, although that still makes him the next best Desmosedici rider after team-mate and title contender Casey Stoner.
“I can't say I've been having the time of my life!” he smiled. “That's pretty obvious. But sometimes that's how it goes. I don't want to say too much you know. It has been a hard season, but still this is a great life. I have a good team and a lot of people supporting me.
“Just because I'm coming home, doesn't mean that we are going to be able to perform a miracle, but I really have slowly made a little bit of progress in the last couple of weeks.
“I'm trying to be positive and looking forward to the weekend. The Ducati comes off the corners really good and does a few things well that you need around Laguna. A few places it could be a little bit more difficult! But I'm here, I'm healthy and we'll just go for it and see what we can do. Try to do something.”
After a DNF in Japan, Hayden's race results have at least been heading in the right direction, having finished 15th, 12th, 12th, 10th and 8th in the five races since.