Despite finishing in seventh place, Nicky Hayden was encouraged by the improved performance of the Ducati at Brno as the gap to the leaders narrowed. The highest Desmosedici at Laguna Seca was half a minute behind the winner but Hayden closed the gap by seven seconds, with teammate Valentino Rossi a further ten seconds up the road.

Hayden hadn't been completely happy with the set-up of the GP11 throughout the weekend but took the positives from the result, and the obvious step forward that had been taken.

“It's been a really tough weekend right from when we got the bikes out of the crates from Laguna, but we chipped away at it. The guys have worked extremely hard, and we got better and better. We even made a change after the morning warm-up that actually helped a bit, although I didn't really understand it the first few laps, and the group was already gone. I held on and got seventh, which isn't fantastic. Still, the gap to the front is the closest it's been this season, which is positive.”

“The bike was really good in a few places, but I was slow in change of direction and couldn't get the bike to finish the corner and was spinning the tyre a lot. We also need to understand why I had the slowest top speed. It would've been nice to hang onto that front group a bit longer, but Colin pushed me all the way to the end.”

The Italian squad will now take part in the post-race test on Monday and Hayden admits it is a hugely significant day as the team continues to look ahead to 2012.

“The work's far from over for this weekend, because we've got a big day tomorrow. Valentino tried some new parts on the front that they seem real happy about, so hopefully I can try those tomorrow. Test days are so important, and we really need a dry day tomorrow to try to make a big step.”