Nicky Hayden made a good start to the Portuguese Grand Prix, taking sixth on lap six, but he was unable to repeat an encouraging performance in morning warm-up - and the Ducati Marlboro rider was left to settle for eighth position.
“After the morning warm-up [sixth] I was expecting a little more today but I just didn't feel like I had the traction I'd had for most of the weekend. The bike was moving around a lot under acceleration and it was hard to get out of the corners,” explained the American, who had qualified in ninth.
“We made good progress throughout the weekend and like I said this morning felt quite good but the afternoon was really warm and maybe that affected us too much. I got a decent start and moved up a few places but a lot of guys were able to pass me on the front straightaway and I'm not really sure why the bike didn't feel fast as usual.
“Nevertheless we learnt a lot this weekend and got some good data. I'd hoped for more but eighth is the best we could do. It's not for a lack of effort or hard work but sometimes that's not good enough. Hopefully we can do better at Phillip Island,” Hayden concluded.
“Nicky showed good pace in the warm-up this morning but paid the price in the race for a non perfect qualifying session,” added Ducati Corse general manager Filippo Preziosi. “We still have work to do and we're looking at some technical solutions designed to help him find more traction at circuits where the grip is so critical. He is a fighter and we know he will continue to improve.”