After finishing fourth at the last two rounds, Andrea Dovizioso will be hoping it's a case of third time lucky as he aims for his first Repsol Honda podium in Sunday's Grand Prix of Catalunya.

And the Italian looks in with a good chance of achieving that goal, after qualifying fourth on the grid - just 0.168sec behind world championship leader Casey Stoner - and having set an impressive race pace.

"I'm very happy with this 4th position, even though of course my target was to be on the first row," said Dovi. "I like this racetrack - you do a lot of sliding the bike and I really enjoy this kind of riding.

"We made progress with the machine this morning, then we made a modification to the setting this afternoon that didn't have the results we expected, so tomorrow we will go back to this morning's set up.

"Today it was very hot and conditions were very demanding for the tyres - all the riders seemed to have less grip at the rear. Still, I'm quite satisfied. We have improved our race pace and tomorrow I will fight hard for the podium.

"We were fast today and I think we can get closer to the frontrunners' race pace in the low 1m 43s, although consistency is still their advantage," he conceded.

"Andrea has made consistent progress this weekend and with further final modifications to his machine set-up he could be very competitive in the race," stated team manager Kazuhiko Yamano.

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