Alvaro Bautista is quietly optimistic that he can string together a strong performance in the United States Grand Prix after qualifying seventh at Laguna Seca.

Attempting to put a frustrating run of form behind him, which included his much talked about mistake at the start of the Dutch TT, the subsequent penalty in Germany and a struggle at Mugello, Bautista is hoping Laguna Seca marks a turnaround for him.

Making progress to that effect, Bautista was only two tenths of a second adrift of Andrea Dovizioso on the second row, the Gresini Honda rider out-qualifying both factory Ducatis and Honda counterpart Stefan Bradl to claim seventh.

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"It went quite a lot better than yesterday - the only disappointment is that we hardly got any laps in this morning because of the fog and that probably cost us the opportunity to take another step forward," he said. "Anyway, we managed to try a couple of different settings out and in the end we found something positive which improved my confidence on the bike. My pace also improved, so that's good.

"Obviously, we are still not at 100 per cent, but we have taken an important step. A third row start isn't bad and if we can get away well off the line we can hope to stay with the second group because the front three are on a different level. My objective is to rediscover the feeling I had before Mugello and have a good race."