Nicky Hayden finished the opening MotoGP race of 2013 behind his new Ducati team-mate Andrea Dovizioso but was ultimately satisfied with his progress at Losail.
The American star benefited from a last-minute change to his Desmosedici GP13 prior to the race and improved his best lap of the weekend by two tenths of a second as he finished in eighth position.
Hayden crossed the line close behind Dovizioso as he bridged the gap that developed between the pair in qualifying and hailed the Italian's prowess on the brakes after attempting to take seventh place without success.
“We knew it was going to be difficult. We made a little improvement in the warm-up session, and I felt a bit better.
“I have to give credit to my guys because we made one more change before the race, and my bike was better than it's been since we got here,” said Hayden.
“I did my best time of the weekend by two tenths and basically ran at my qualifying pace for the first part of the race.
“I worked really hard to close that gap and get onto that little group in front of me, and things started feeling better.
“It would have been nice to pick up one more spot, but I couldn't get past Dovi because he was better than I was on the brakes.”