Dani Pedrosa complimented Casey Stoner on an impressive MotoGP comeback at Estoril, but warned that his main target is to keep the Australian from regaining third in the 2009 world championship.
Pedrosa took the position from Stoner by just seven points during the Ducati rider's three race absence to seek treatment for fatigue problems, but Stoner out-qualified Pedrosa by one place on his Estoril return to start Sunday's race from the front row, in third.
“Casey's performance today was impressive, so compliments to him - I'm not surprised he was this fast,” said the Repsol Honda rider. “My main goal for the rest of the season will be to retain third in the championship and we hope take the first step towards that goal tomorrow.
“Fourth is not a bad starting slot. We improved our lap times significantly this afternoon and if we can make a few more improvements to the set-up, everything is possible in the race,” he added.
Team-mate Andrea Dovizioso will start eighth on the Ohlins factory RCV.
“We cannot be happy with today's result, but the important thing is to maintain concentration and try our best in the race,” said the Italian. “The characteristics of this racetrack accentuate some issues we found at the last race in Misano, but I'm confident we have a lot of potential with the Ohlins suspension. Plus we only have experience from one race, so there's a lot more to come.”