Nicky Hayden has been transferred to hospital for further checks after a disastrous end to his MotoGP qualifying debut for Ducati, at Qatar on Saturday.

Hayden, who had suffered technical problems in both free practice sessions - including an engine failure - prior to qualifying, was launched into the air by a vicious highside at the very end of the 45-minute session, whilst trying to improve on 16th position.

The 2006 world champion, due to make his 100th MotoGP start on Sunday, suffered severe pain in his back and, after undergoing some initial x-rays at the circuit medical centre, has been taken to a local hospital for further checks.

Hayden also required three stitches for a cut to his chest and is described as 'doubtful' for the race.

"I don't feel like going for a jog right now, I can tell you that much!" joked Nicky. "It was a big crash and I'm in a lot of pain so we're going to get some more x-rays done and see what the score is."

Hayden's Ducati Marlboro team-mate Casey Stoner took pole position.

"The whole team are keeping our fingers crossed for Nicky. Hopefully he can ride tomorrow but the most important thing is that he's okay," said Stoner.

UPDATE: The hospital checks showed no broken bones, but a decision on Hayden's participation in the season-opening Losail night race is yet to be made.