Qualifying in sixth position for the Qatar MotoGP season opener, Dani Pedrosa could be forgiven for being disappointed. But when speaking to the media the Spaniard was upbeat about his prospects.

In one of the most competitive qualifying sessions in memory Pedrosa was less than two tenths from pole position, yet will find himself starting from the back of the second row.

"Today we improved a little and tried the hard tyre. I think that qualifying was closer than ever and we are happy with the lap time that we did. So tomorrow I'll try and do the best start and I hope that the track is clean on the right side and I can make a good start.

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"The race pace is really the key. Today Espargaro wasn't perfect in qualifying and he can be at the front in the race. At the moment it looks like many riders can go at a fast pace in the race."

While many of the factory class riders are confident of using their softer (medium compound) tyre in tomorrow's race, Pedrosa remains open minded.

"I haven't completely decided on tyres for tomorrow but we'll wait for the conditions. Today was windier but the track was good and not too hot. Today I tried the hard and I have a better feeling on the softs but I was also good on the hards."