Randy de Puniet will start his third season with LCR Honda from fourth on the grid, after qualifying as the leading RCV and satellite rider for the Qatar Grand Prix.

The Frenchman's excellent form took him to within 0.83sec of pole sitter Casey Stoner and kept him 0.15sec ahead of factory Honda riders Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa.

Significantly, only de Puniet and Dovizioso seem to have found a comfortable set-up for the 2010 RC212V, with LCR and de Puniet appearing to benefit from their previous experience with Ohlins suspension.

"Two months ago we had some issues with the new bike at the Sepang test but we remained concentrated on our job and I was confident that my crew could give me a better bike," said de Puniet.

"We have improved slowly and my feeling has increased a lot. Since the beginning of this week end we have worked in the right way making some long run on race tyres with an excellent pace.

"In the qualifying session we have tested our race map and at the end I have lapped on soft tyres gaining the second row. Honestly I was not expecting such a brilliant result but I am very happy and want to thank my crew.

"Tomorrow's start is really important if I want to close the gap to the front riders," he added.