By Stephen English

Andrea Dovizioso finished ninth in Sunday's US MotoGP and the Italian's disappointment was clear to see.

Having struggled in the early stages of the race he quickly lost touch with the leading group and spent the rest of the race fighting over eighth with team-mate Nicky Hayden.

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The Ducati had been expected to struggle at Laguna Seca given the bumpy nature of the track surface, and with Hayden and Dovizioso finishing just two tenths apart it appears that the result represented the maximum from the bike.

Dovizioso admitted that he was unable to do any better:

"I tried to push and try to go under 1m 23s but I wasn't able to do that lap time and Nicky had exactly the same pace. It was difficult, the drop of the tyre after three laps meant that I couldn't make a 1m 22s and after that I lost the group with Cal [Crutchlow]. So I tried to focus and be consistent but I wasn't fast enough. I tried to make a small gap to Nicky but we were slow."

When asked if he expected any upturn in form during the second half of the season, the Italian commented that there are upcoming tests but that he did not hold out much hope of seeing a marked improvement.

"We have a test on Thursday at Misano where we have some things to try, but I don't think it will be something that can completely change our situation. I think it will be difficult to change the situation in the next few rounds and I don't know if we will be able to reduce the gap before the season finishes."

Hayden and Dovizioso finished 34s behind race winner Marc Marquez.