Having lost 29 points to MotoGP title leader Casey Stoner over the last three races, Jorge Lorenzo is confident he can take on the Repsol Honda rider in Sunday's San Marino Grand Prix.

Stoner and Lorenzo will start first and second on the Misano grid, having been separated by just 0.120sec in qualifying. Stoner's team-mate Dani Pedrosa will complete a front row covered by 0.180sec.

"Today has been a good day for us. We wanted pole position but the first row is a good start for tomorrow," said Lorenzo. "We have tried some things today and in QP we could almost always be in front.

"The bike is very good after all the great work of my crew and we have a fast pace. I think we can be competitive tomorrow and try to finish in front of Casey so that's our aim.

"The weather conditions are being very tough this weekend, it might even rain tomorrow. The race will be very difficult in all aspects," he warned.

Team-mate Ben Spies had a more challenging session, which ended with fourth on the grid, but 0.809sec from pole.

"It was honestly a lot tougher than expected this afternoon," confessed Spies. "I wasn't really happy with it We're trying a lot of stuff with the bike and I don't feel all that bad riding wise, we just don't have the right setting yet and we're not comfortable at a few spots on the track. Some are really good, some are really bad.

"We had to ride way over the limit to be where we were today. I'm glad we got it done and got on the second row but I'm not happy about how many risks I had to take to get there. The bike's there, we can see it, Jorge's going fast and I feel good, we just have to get my setting comfortable. We've got all night to work on it and see what we can do for tomorrow. "

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