Andrea Dovizioso has conceded his chances of making it four MotoGP World Championship podiums in a row at Laguna Seca is slim, claiming the top three are currently 'looking impossible to beat'.
The Italian arrives in the United States after runs to the rostrum at, Assen, Sachsenring and Mugello over consecutive weekends, results that have already helped establish him as the most successful Tech 3 Yamaha rider in terms of podium finishes.
However, though Dovizioso's sixth place start for the United States Grand Prix is actually higher than he managed in any of those races, he fears the gap to the top three of Jorge Lorenzo, Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa is such that he won't be able to cause an upset come race day.
“We improved the bike a lot this afternoon and it was quite a busy session because we lost a complete practice this morning with the weather conditions. We had to change the work plan a little bit but we got everything we needed to accomplish done in the afternoon and I am happy and ready for the race.
“My race pace is good and I think I had the potential to be a bit higher up the grid but each time I tried to push on the soft tyre I encountered some traffic and couldn't get a clear track to put a whole lap together.
“It is going to be a very tough race tomorrow because the top three are so fast and I hate to say it but it looks impossible to beat them. I have worked a lot on the soft and the hard tyre and I like both, so we will have to decide which one we take for the race based on the conditions.”
Team-mate Cal Crutchlow, meanwhile, starts just ahead of Dovizioso in fifth position after bouncing back from a fall on Friday. A vast improvement on his performance at the same circuit twelve months ago, Crutchlow is feeling optimistic ahead of the race.
“We made a good improvement from yesterday even though I could only do eight laps this morning because of the conditions. I have been inside the top six all weekend and that is a huge step forward compared to last year when I had a really tough weekend and was riding around outside of the top 10.
“The Yamaha Tech 3 Team did a fantastic job last night to repair the bike I badly damaged in the crash in practice and hopefully a fifth place on the grid and a strong performance today repaid them. The second row is a good starting position and I've had decent pace all weekend, so I'm looking forward to the race.
“I've been consistent and fast on both the hard and the soft tyre so the final decision will depend a lot on air and track temperature tomorrow."