Jonathan Rea gave an excellent account of himself in qualifying today as the Northern Irishman prepares for his MotoGP race debut in the San Marino Grand Prix.

The 25-year-old was denied crucial dry track time on the works Repsol Honda RC213V yesterday, when poor weather conditions hampered his progress.

However, the Ten Kate Honda World Superbike rider - standing in for the injured Casey Stoner - made slick progress in qualifying at Misano and will start from ninth place on the third row of the grid tomorrow alongside Andrea Dovizioso and Ben Spies.

Rea admitted he was feeling "stressed" this morning after Friday's free practice sessions were thwarted, but he will sleep easier tonight after a solid performance at the Italian circuit.

"I woke up this morning pretty stressed after yesterday's missed sessions and then FP3 was also pretty useless, so I've got to be happy with a third row start and my goal was top 10," said Rea, whose best lap was 1.5s adrift of team-mate and pole man Dani Pedrosa.

"I'm learning something on every single run and the team did a great job on translating my feedback to give me good settings on the bike.

"I'm taking things step-by-step and the limit is still quite a way off, but I don't really want to find that limit just yet, I'm taking my time," he added.

"I want to thank Repsol Honda for this opportunity, I'm really enjoying the experience and don't want it to end!"

Rea isn't expecting miracles on his MotoGP debut and concedes he is feeling nervous as he steels himself for the biggest moment in his career to date.

"I know tomorrow's race is going to be tough, I just want go out, give my best and have a clean race," said Rea.

"I'm pretty nervous but when the lights go out I'll be in race mode and we'll see what happens."