Starting seventh and finishing fifth wasn't the kind of home grand prix performance Nicky Hayden had hoped for.
But with Valentino Rossi and third position just in front, the Ducati rider rode 'over his head' during the closing stages to try and claim a rostrum a finish.
But it was to no avail, with Andrea Dovizioso 0.4sec in front of him at the flag, and Rossi 1.2sec clear.
“We had a little problem with the bike when I did my practice start this morning and it happened again in the race but we put up a fight as best we could," said Hayden, who finished as the top American.
"The last five laps I was over my head, doing my fastest laps of the weekend almost because I thought there was a chance we might be able to get on the box if the guys in front made a mistake. I dug as deep as I could but it wasn't enough today," he admitted."
Hayden won for Honda at Laguna Seca in 2005 and 2006, but the 800cc seasons have been tougher.
"My first two years here at Laguna Seca were much more fun, that's for sure, but hopefully we can be back here fighting for the win next year - that's the goal," said Hayden, expected to be confirmed as a Ducati rider in 2011 shortly.
"I want to say thanks to all my guys for their hard work this weekend and to all the fans here at Laguna, their support is incredible – I'm just sorry I couldn't be on the podium for them.”