Andrea Dovizioso gave Ducati its first front row start of the 2014 MotoGP season during qualifying at Le Mans.
The Italian, who was also third on the grid for last year's French MotoGP, said: “I'm so happy to be on the front row. I think it will be very important for the race tomorrow.
“I'm also happier than last year because the lap time is really fast. It confirms that we've improved the bike and my pace is consistent with the harder tyre. It will be very difficult because many riders have a similar pace and it is a long race, but we are in the best condition ever compared to the other races.
“So I'm positive. It will be a difficult, but we have more chance to fight. For example at Jerez I knew I couldn't fight with them. Here will be a little bit different.”
With the Desmosedici largely unchanged since winter testing, Dovizioso, who took Ducati's first podium since 2012 in Texas, explained why he is finding it more effective at Le Mans.
“In straight braking we are really strong, even stronger than last year, and we are fast on the straight. Our limit is the middle of the corner, because it is difficult to turn the bike, but here the corners are quite short. I think I also have a good approach for this track.
“The bike improved in the winter tests in Malaysia and since then the bike hasn't changed so at this moment it is difficult for us to make a big step.
“But we are closer than last year and at some tracks, like here, if you make a good weekend it is possible to start in the first row and be close to a podium. We don't have the same level as the first four riders, but we are not so far.”
While Dovizioso shone in qualifying, the next best Ducati was Andrea Iannone in eleventh, with Cal Crutchlow twelfth and Yonny Hernandez 14th.