Having set the Friday afternoon pace at the Catalunya MotoGP, Bradley Smith admitted he was somewhat disappointed to qualify in eighth place.

But the Englishman was pleased to see that he lapped 1.5s faster than one year ago, as he finished the Qualifying 2 shootout half a second from Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa.

Afterwards Smith cited a lack of feeling on turn-in as costing him corner speed on his Monster Yamaha Tech 3.

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"It was shame but it seemed that we were missing a little bit of turn-in off the brake," said Smith. "When you try and carry the corner speed you need for the Yamaha it wouldn't turn, so you needed more angle and I had less grip. I matched the lap time twice, '44.4 and 44.5, but I just didn't have that extra little bit.

"I'm pleased that I was consistent and safe and secure for the lap time. I've felt really comfortable on the bike all weekend. I was aiming for second row with Valentino and that was 0.2s. I knew that it was possible and hopefully with a few changes tomorrow we can improve."

World champion Marc Marquez again made three runs in qualifying, saving a set of fresh tyres compared to his rivals. While the championship leader crashed today and was only able to set the third fastest time, Smith was clearly impressed by the Spaniard's strategy.

"Marc saved tyres either this morning or yesterday, and it was the right thing to do. The tyre was good for the first flying lap but we didn't have three tyres for three runs because that's what I would have liked.

"The tyre has one lap here, maybe two if you're lucky, so that's a clever strategy. [But it] requires you to go out and drop the hammer on the first lap, some riders can and some riders can't."

Should the predicted Sunday rain materialise, it would mark the first wet event since Le Mans 2013.

"It's scary to think that we haven't ridden in the rain for 12 months and that everyone will be rolling the dice. It would make it interesting and it could even be a flag to flag race. You'd need a lot of rain [to stay fully wet]. I suppose that if it rains heavily we'll be rain tyres so that would be good."