Interwetten Honda's replacement rider Kousuke Akiyoshi will start Saturday's Dutch TT from 15th and last on the grid.

Nevertheless, team manager Daniel Epp felt that the 1.6sec margin to next best Hector Barbera was a commendable result after just three hours with the team - and on an unfamiliar track.

"It went better than I expected," said Epp. "The gap to Barbera is only 1.6 seconds. We are quite satisfied with the qualifying time. You can clearly see the difference between [regular] MotoGP riders and the rest of the world, but Kousuke does not have to hide himself with the performance he showed."

Akiyoshi, who qualified 3.6sec behind pole sitter and world championship leader Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha) is aiming to get closer to the regular riders on Saturday.

"I try to help the team as much as possible. For me it is difficult to set up all the different settings of the bike. But I have fun and this experience is very interesting," he said. "I improved by 2 seconds since yesterday, 1 second since this morning's practice. I will try to keep improving also during tomorrow's race and I look forward to this challenge."

Akiyoshi has made four previous MotoGP starts, all with Suzuki, and claimed a best finish of 13th at the 2006 Japanese Grand Prix.

The 35-year-old, now a HRC test rider, is replacing the injured Hiroshi Aoyama, who fractured vertebrae at Silverstone.

Akiyoshi will continue with the Interwetten team at next weekend's Catalunya round.