By Stephen English

Home favourite Nicky Hayden began his final US MotoGP as a Factory Ducati rider in ninth position and was clearly disappointed with his performance.

"It wasn't a great day for us," said Hayden. "I love being at Laguna and in front of the home crowd, but we're struggling more than I hoped and pushing the front a lot particularly in the fast corners and downhill corners.

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"It's not a great start but we'll see where it leads. We found a little improvement on the last exit and the gap to the front isn't that big, six tenths, but it's barely in the top ten."

With the top ten riders guaranteed to make it through to Q2 following FP3, Hayden was asked if he saw any opportunity for riders to improve their time tomorrow morning, when conditions are likely to be a repeat of the cool and misty FP1.

With the former world champion having raced in the AMA championship at Laguna Seca prior to MotoGP, Hayden has a lot of experience to call upon at the Californian track and he felt that it might be possible:

"I've been here before where it looks like that but the lap time comes because it's deceiving. We feel the water but the track is dry. Even this morning the grip was good so if you can find the setup it's possible to go fast [tomorrow morning].

"The conditions [in the morning] don't help but this morning even though it was foggy and misty this morning the grip wasn't too bad. But once we went out this afternoon the grip was better and the times faster."

Hayden won the US GP in 2005 and 2006 for Honda, with his best Ducati result fifth place (twice).