The only rider to choose the softer option front tyre was a brave, or perhaps desperate, move that came back to haunt Nicky Hayden in his home Indianapolis MotoGP on Sunday.

But the Ducati rider felt he had no choice, having struggled to make the harder compound work during practice.

Starting eighth on the grid for his first race with the GP11.1, the softer rubber helped Hayden run as high as fourth during a combative display in the opening laps. But the front tyre was soon suffering and Hayden dropped all the way down to last place.

"The first few laps were probably the most fun I've had all year," recalled Hayden. "It was the first time I've been able to put up any kind of real fight in the dry. But it didn't last long.

"Our biggest problem is pushing the front. We couldn't make the hard tyre last because it pushed even worse. So we thought 'Go with the soft tyre'," he explained.

"Yesterday in qualifying, I was able to make the soft tyre last, but the first few laps of the race I was going so hard I destroyed it. There was no rubber left. Then it was out of balance, and I really couldn't even ride."

The tyre problem got so bad that the former double Indy podium finisher pitted, before returning to claim two points for 14th and last place.

Even if he had started with the harder tyre, Hayden isn't sure it would have made much difference.

"Yesterday, we couldn't make the hard tyre last, either. Other Ducati riders went with the hard front tyre and had to pit in the race too. So I'm really not sure it was going to make a big difference, either way," he said.

"Hopefully, we can somehow take some of the data and stuff we've learned from this weekend on that bike.

"Sorry to all my US fans and the Ducati fans here who came to support us, but we'll try again next week."


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