If tenth place from twelfth on the grid prompted public criticism of Ducati from Valentino Rossi in Qatar, what would he say after finishing ninth from a 13th place start at Jerez on Sunday?

The struggling seven time MotoGP champion was almost exactly the same margin from victory on both occasions, 34 seconds, yet the Italian cast a more upbeat view of the situation in Spain.

"The positive thing from today's race is that I think it might help us to do a bit better in the coming events, starting next week in Portugal," said Rossi.

The reason for Rossi's optimism was the switch to a more Ducati-style set-up, 'very similar' to that used by team-mate Nicky Hayden - Rossi admitting after Saturday's disastrous qualifying that ideas he and his crew had used with great success in the past simply weren't working:

"I know what to do to go faster, but unfortunately it doesn't work with the Ducati," he had said. "My team is in the exact same position. For 30 years with different bikes and all the tricks they do to go faster don't work with this bike."

That prompted the change in set-up ideology, although Rossi went into the race 'almost blind' and see-sawed between tenth and eleventh position for the opening ten laps.

"Today we used a set-up that's new for us, and it gave some positive signs. [We had] tried some solutions to give me a feeling similar to what I've had [with other bikes] in the past, but it doesn't work," he confirmed.

"Today's setting was very similar to what Nicky has used for a while, though not exactly the same. I must get used to riding the bike a bit differently than I'm used to, and today that caused me to lose some ground in the early laps because I was basically starting blind.

"I wasn't going bad once I found my rhythm, in the sense that I was matching the times of those who were fighting for sixth place, and I was able to push until the end, doing a 1:41.0 on the penultimate lap.

"This helps me to be a little more optimistic as I look ahead to the next races because if I'm able to ride a bit better, it could be a place for us to start from. In fact, we'll use this setting when we start on Friday [in Estoril]."

Rossi spent the second half of the race locked in battle for ninth with satellite Ducati rider Hector Barbera, whom Rossi had claimed is only focused on beating him - regardless of the position - after the Spaniard sent Rossi wide with a close pass in Qatar.

This time Rossi got the upper hand, but only by a quarter of a second. Barbera still has the previous 'Valencia-spec' GP12.

Hayden, who had qualified on the front row, was the top Desmosedici at Jerez, finishing one place and six seconds in front of Rossi.

Hayden was the same distance from victory, 28 seconds, as he had been when he claimed sixth place at Losail.

Free practice for the Portuguese Grand Prix takes place on Friday.