Cal Crutchlow insisted he won't revise his Qatar expectations despite finishing second fastest in final practice for the Losail season opener.
The Englishman joined the likes of Factory Yamaha star Jorge Lorenzo in fitting a soft rear tyre towards the end of FP3, when Crutchlow briefly led the timesheets before Lorenzo edged 0.154sec clear.
The performance of the M1 riders dropped Honda's Casey Stoner to third, as the reigning world champion stuck with a harder tyre.
Despite his flying form, Crutchlow continues to target a place in the top six on Sunday.
“I'm really happy to be second quickest but I'm not going to get carried away and say I will be on the front row tomorrow night,” stated Crutchlow. “I think we can certainly be challenging for it, but my expectations for the race on Sunday are to be battling for the top six and being closer to the leaders than last year.
“At the end I used the soft tyre but I had an old hard compound front on. I was pushing the front but I am really happy with the lap time. I got held up a little bit too on my fastest lap coming out of the last corner by one of the CRT bikes. It just meant I changed from third to fourth gear a bit later than normal and I lost a bit of drive.
“I'm not going to say that would have put my quickest, but it would have been very close. But to be second and just over one-tenth behind Jorge is great for my confidence. My Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew have done an awesome job, so hopefully we can battling for a similar position tomorrow night in qualifying.”
New team-mate Andrea Dovizioso finished free practice in fourth place, 0.6sec from Lorenzo.
“I am really satisfied again with our performance tonight,” said the Italian. “Each session I go out on the bike my feeling with the Yamaha improves and I am gaining a lot of confidence. Even during a race weekend like this when you don't have so many laps, we have made some very big improvements and this is very positive. Maybe the front row will be difficult but I will be trying my best.”