Nicky Hayden will start the 2012 Catalunya Grand Prix as Ducati's top representative, though the man himself says he is frustrated at being unable to go higher than seventh position.
The American barely featured during the opening half of qualifying as attention focused on his factory Ducati team-mate Valentino Rossi, as well as Pramac rider Hector Barbera after the Spaniard showed impressive pace in practice.
However, after a slow start as he struggled with feeling on the GP12, changes to the bike would see him spring up to seventh position in the closing stages, two spots ahead of his team-mate.
Even so, while Hayden points out that the gap to the front runners is the smallest it has been all year, he felt he was capable of going quicker.
“This morning I did a pretty decent lap time with a hard tyre and thought I could possibly get on the second row, but this afternoon, right from the beginning, I struggled to get the same feeling and had to change a couple of things. I was able to do an okay lap, but truthfully, I thought I could get into the 41s.
“We'll start seventh tomorrow, which isn't great, but the gap to the front is the smallest it's been all year. We'll certainly have to improve our consistency tomorrow, and race distance could be really tough for tyre wear, but maybe the temperatures will be cooler and help us.”