Nicky Hayden will start his home Indianapolis MotoGP as the leading Ducati rider in eighth place, after qualifying 1.394sec from pole but within 0.3sec of fourth place Dani Pedrosa.
The 2006 world champion, a double podium finisher at Indy, blamed himself for not making bigger improvements ahead of what will be his first race on the GP11.1
“Obviously, to be on the third row is not our target," said Nicky. "We struggled a lot again today, probably worse today than yesterday. With a new track and a bit of a new bike, we just haven't found a direction.
"My feedback probably hasn't been clear enough, and we really just can't find which way to go to try to make the bike steer.
"In the end, I salvaged third row, if you can call it that. We've got a lot of homework to do tonight, but hopefully we can come up with something.
"I'm not expecting an easy day tomorrow, that's for sure. We certainly not putting up the fight that we hoped here. Last year's data is not a lot of help."
Hayden's biggest concern ahead of the race is tyre wear.
"Tyre wear is going to be a big question mark for me," he revealed. "The track has gotten a lot better. Now it is so grippy that tyre wear is the problem. We're wearing tyres quite a lot, especially in the front. I went through a couple of tyres really quick, so tomorrow is going to be interesting.
"We'll try to go with that second group. The front group, they're on their own.
"I'm sorry for my fans and the Ducati supporters who want to see us qualifying up front, but we'll give it our best tomorrow. They say there may be cooler weather, which normally helps us a little bit, so maybe we'll catch a break.”
While Hayden was disappointed with eighth, team-mate Valentino Rossi was left a head-shaking 14th. The seven-time world champion damaged his preferred bike in a any fall and was over two-seconds from pole with his second GP11.1