Nicky Hayden gave his all in pursuit of a home Ducati podium a Mugello on Sunday, only to drop from fourth to seventh on the very last lap.
The American held fifth place for most of the race, and caught the Andrea Dovizioso-Bradl podium battle just as the last lap began.
Hayden then dived inside Bradl for fourth place, but the Honda LCR rider got a better exit and squeezed back past Hayden at the following turn – forcing Hayden out wide.
That allowed team-mate Valentino Rossi to pass and Hayden lost a further positron to Yamaha Tech 3's Cal Crutchlow before the end of the lap.
“I got a good start, but I was spinning a lot in the beginning, and I thought I was going to destroy the tyre. Once I went to a smoother map, I was able to really start driving off the corners and bringing the group back,” said Hayden, who set the fourth fastest lap of the race, 0.474s behind Dani Pedrosa (Honda).
“Those last seven, eight laps, I really gave it everything; I wasn't sure I was going to finish, but I was sure I was going to go for it. On the last lap, after I went by Bradl for fourth, I was only thinking about trying to pass 'Dovi' and get the Ducati on the podium, so I don't regret the fact that I tried.
“In the end, we can't be happy with seventh, but I hope all the Ducati fans that came to support us can be proud of this team this weekend. They gave me a good bike, and we really had a shot at the podium today.”
Hayden will be back on track during Monday's test session, when he and Rossi will try new engine and chassis developments for the GP12.