Jorge Lorenzo is making steps 'little by little' as he battles to find a solution to the grip problems that have stifled his pace in 2014.

The Movistar Yamaha rider will start Sunday's Qatar MotoGP from the second row of the grid after qualifying in fifth place, lapping in 1m 54.661s.

The two-time MotoGP world champion's time was only 0.154s slower than pole man Marc Marquez and Lorenzo is optimistic he will have the chance to fight for a rostrum finish.

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"I can't say I'm happy, but if we compare yesterday to today I am much happier. Yesterday I was very upset. Today the track improved and I pushed so much, risking a lot, and made a very good lap time.

"We are going to feel worse than with the standard tyre because the tyre is less grippy. So we have to try to adapt the bike. There is more potential, especially electronically.

"We are improving little by little to adapt to the situation. Let's see with only the warm-up to go if we can find something to improve the pace.

"Many riders are very close for pace and the race is hard to predict, especially with the Open class. A lot of riders have good pace but I guess Dovizioso is going to suffer more than in qualifying. Aleix [Espargaro] has good pace, but starting ninth is going to penalise him a bit. Then there is also Marquez and Pedrosa.

"The race is very long, and if we can make one step on the bike we can fight for the podium or even a victory, which would be amazing for the circumstances.

"I haven't tried the hard tyre, but we will speak with Bridgestone to see if we should use it in the warm-up."

Team Manager Wilco Zeelenberg added: "We're not really unhappy with the result, of course we are still working and looking for more speed but we are vey close: from first to Jorge is less than two tenths of a second.

"All in all we can be pleased with the things we've done. The race is more important than qualifying and second row is not a bad place to start tomorrow."