Ducati's Nicky Hayden was unable to fulfil the promise of his excellent front row start at Jerez as he struggled with front tyre grip in the second round of the MotoGP World Championship.

The American raised expectations for the factory Ducati team following an excellent qualifying display on the Desmosedici GP12 as team-mate Valentino Rossi continues to falter.

The former premier class champion disputed third place with Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Cal Crutchlow and Dani Pedrosa on the Repsol Honda in the early stages, but steadily lost ground as his front tyre went off and could only manage eighth place.

And although Hayden is unhappy with his final position, he remains convinced of the potential of the bike while conceding there is still some way to go to close the gap to the leaders.

"Eighth place is certainly not what our goal is. The bike's got a lot of potential, but at the moment, the gap to the rest is still too far," he said.

"It was fun for a couple of laps. We know our bike is great at generating heat in the tyres, and for the first few laps I was able do what I wanted.

"Then about the time it looked like the other guys' tyres came up to temperature, mine had already started losing grip, especially in the front. I was pushing wide in places and guys started coming past me.

"We knew it would be tough in the dry. My set-up was okay, but to really try to go with those guys wasn't possible. I was able to close back down on [Stefan] Bradl at the end and have a bit of a race the last couple of laps, but he beat me," Hayden added.

"Hopefully we can get a dry weekend in Estoril and try to be closer to the front on Sunday."