Andrea Dovizioso, the only Repsol Honda rider present in Malaysia, claimed that his third place in qualifying was more satisfying than his debut MotoGP pole at Motegi last weekend.

"It's always important to be on the front row - and this was actually more satisfying than the pole position in Japan because the conditions were so extreme today," said the Italian. "The level of riders and bikes in MotoGP is so high and so the front row also means we have done a really good job so far this weekend.

"We have moved things on from where we were in Japan and improved our electronic set-up again - we've found a good direction, which is really positive. I want to say thank you to my team and to HRC for working hard to achieve this. It's going to be a tough race because it's so hot here, but I'm looking forward to it.

"For tomorrow it's difficult to understand how the race will pan out - we'll have to study the lap times from today to get a feeling for our rivals' performance; qualifying doesn't always give you the real picture of what everyone's race pace will be. In terms of tyre choice, I think it will be the hard option for us."

As well as contesting for his first race wine of the season, Dovizioso's target for tomorrow will be to narrow the 21-point gap in the world championship standings to Casey Stoner, who qualified in fifth place today.

Dovizioso's team-mate and title contender Dani Pedrosa is missing the event due to injury.


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