Local hero Nicky Hayden has hinted he may be forced to make 'big changes' to his Ducati in an effort to get on terms with his rivals after qualifying eighth for his home United States Grand Prix at Laguna Seca.

Fresh from the announcement that he will stay on board with Ducati in 2013, Hayden was looking to celebrate the new deal in front of his adoring fans during qualifying, but found himself trailing towards the bottom end of the top ten.

Particularly disappointed by the gap to the front, which saw him more than a second behind pole sitter Jorge Lorenzo, Hayden says he will consider changes to the bike ahead of the race.

"After the performance we had in the race at Mugello and then again in the test, we expected to be a lot closer to the front than this. It's a bit frustrating to be over a second back, especially at a little track like this where even three or four tenths is a lot.

"We'll decide if we want to make big changes for tomorrow or try to refine what we have, and the main priority will be to settle on a tyre. The morning warm-up might not be very useful if it's foggy again, but we'll see what tomorrow brings and give it our best shot."