By Stephen English
Randy de Puniet will start Saturday's Dutch MotoGP at Assen, but the Frenchman felt that if not for encountering traffic he could have qualified on the second row.
"I'm a little disappointed because Bautista was on my line [on my fastest lap] and I think that I missed out on the second row," said the Aspar rider.
"Anyway this is the first time I feel so confident with the bike and if we can keep this feeling I can be fast for the rest of the year. Even when the conditions not being perfect yesterday afternoon or this morning we found the right setting."
de Puniet's best finish so far this year is eleventh at Mugello, but with the Aprilia ART working well in both wet and dry conditions at Assen he is confident of being able to fight for a top ten place during the 26 lap race.
"Top ten is the target and first CRT is my aim. We will see the weather conditions but in these conditions I was very confident today and I am very happy because I have never had this feeling since the beginning of the year and I am enjoying riding the bike."
Team-mate Aleix Espargaro again led the CRT challenge in qualifying and will start seventh on the grid. Both Aspar riders outpaced the factory Ducatis in qualifying.