Tech 3 Yamaha's Cal Crutchlow says his pace on a used soft rear Bridgestone bodes well for the closing stages of the Australian MotoGP at Phillip Island.
Crutchlow, who continues to recover from a bout of bronchitis, narrowly missed out on a front row start as he ended final qualifying just 0.188s behind Dani Pedrosa in third place.
The Briton believes his consistent lap times on the soft rear will allow him to push hard as the race reaches a climax on Sunday.
“We made some good improvements to the bike today and fortunately I am feeling better too,” said Crutchlow.
“I'm still not 100 per cent but I have been resting as much as possible and I am improving each day.
“It was good to have the bike feeling better today as well, although I wasn't pushing too hard for the whole session.
“I used an old soft rear tyre that I'd run in this morning's practice just to check my pace at the start of the session,” added the 26-year-old, whose best lap was 1m 30.763s.
“I'm really happy because my times were fast and consistent even when the rear tyre had over 30 laps on it.
“That bodes well for the race tomorrow and I'm confident if I can run the same pace I'll be in the podium hunt.”
The general consensus is that Aussie star Casey Stoner is untouchable at his home circuit and Crutchlow doesn't expect anyone to rival the reigning world champion, who has been dominant on his Repsol Honda RCV.
“On a new soft tyre I think I could have gone a bit faster but I got held up,” he said.
“Fourth is still a good result and I'm looking forward to a good battle in tomorrow's race, though based on what we've seen so far, Casey is on another planet and nobody will get close to him.”