Andrea Dovizioso feels his second row start for the Japanese MotoGP does not reflect his true potential after struggling with brake problems during qualifying.
The Italian rider, fourth fastest on Friday, had to make do with sixth position on his Tech 3 Yamaha after an overheating front disc on his M1 severely hindered his chances.
He was forced to change the disc mid-session and although ultimately disappointed, Dovi believes he can still emerge as a podium challenger in Sunday's race.
“I have been very fast and strong in practice, so I have to say I am a little disappointed to only qualify in sixth place,” he said.
“I had a few issues this afternoon but the main one was the front brake discs were overheating. There are so many really severe braking points at this track that the disc temperature is the highest of the championship.
“We had to change the discs during the session and that cost me some time,” Dovizioso added.
“That could play a very important role in tomorrow's race because we have to do 24 laps consecutively at full race speed.”
Dovizioso managed a best time in qualifying of 1m 45.612s even though he feels he never completed “one good lap”.
“I am still confident that I will be fighting for the podium because I didn't feel I got in one very good lap.
“I don't think sixth is a true reflection of my potential but it is fantastic to see Yamaha so strong again,” he added.
“This is a very big race for Yamaha in Japan and it would be great to finish on the podium.”
Four Yamaha M1s fill the top six positions at Motegi, with Dovi's team-mate Cal Crutchlow on the front row in third place while Factory Yamaha pair Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies finished first and fourth respectively.