Nicky Hayden didn't have anything like the start he had hoped for to his first home grand prix as a Ducati rider, finishing just 14th out of 17 riders in Friday practice at Laguna Seca.
The 2005 and 2006 US GP winner struggled with a lack of acceleration from his Desmosedici and was left 1.766sec behind fastest man Valentino Rossi.
“We're near the back again so that's not cool and not what I was hoping for,” confessed Nicky, hoping to improve on a season's best of eighth this weekend. In some places the bike feels quite good but in other places, coming out of the corners, it feels pretty flat and I don't have enough acceleration.
“Usually this is a strong point of the Ducati so it's a little strange so we'll have a look at the mapping and see if we can figure out the problem tonight. Normally around here you have a lot of wheelies and I don't have any so it's obviously something we need to put right.
“I've got a new helmet design here for the 4th July. It is tradition to let off fireworks here so that is the basis of the design, although on the track we haven't let anything go yet! Hopefully we can get a better direction with the engine tomorrow and find some spark!”
Hayden's team-mate Casey Stoner was third.