Cal Crutchlow claimed his best Ducati grid position with fifth place in a rain-interrupted qualifying at Assen.

But the Briton certainly wasn't getting carried away with the result.

"We managed to qualify on the second row with the Ducati. I took advantage of the situation to get myself there, but at the end of the day it was a wishful lap," he said.

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"In all honesty I didn't push so hard on that lap and I wondered what they all doing going so slow. Yes it was bit damp but they were taking it a bit too cautious for me, so I thought maybe they knew something I didn't and suddenly I ended up fifth."

Despite the qualifying surprise, Crutchlow is under no illusions as to how hard the race will be in the dry, having struggled to 17th place in final practice.

"The reality is that if you look at race pace we are about 20th, so we have to improve for tomorrow," the Englishman declared. "I would say Free Practice 4 today was probably the worst session I've had on the Ducati this year.

"I had completely no feeling with bike, no rear grip and so much understeer - with the bike [setting] that we actually thought was going to be better. That was disappointing not to gain anything and go slower than yesterday.

"In the end I got through Qualifying 1 with a good lap, which is quite uncharacteristic as I've been unable to go fast over one lap, but today we were not so bad. But the station is that we need to look at a different direction for tomorrow's race and see if we can be competitive.

"Hopefully we can try some things in a dry warm-up and if not we'll just gamble for the race."

While a repeat of the qualifying rain might help Crutchlow's cause on Saturday, the 28-year-old insisted his priority is to make progress with the Desmosedici.

"We need to improve the bike in the dry and not worry about the rain. If I finish 20th in the dry tomorrow but I learn something I'll be more pleased than if we have a good race in the wet."

Pramac's Andrea Iannone will start from fourth place, with Crutchlow's factory team-mate Andrea Dovizioso qualifying seventh.

"It was a good qualifying," said Iannone. "I saw that it was beginning to rain so I tried to push hard from the first lap, thinking it was the right thing to do and I managed to make a good time.

"During FP4 we worked on the bike so that I could improve my pace, after trying various solutions we were able to get closer to what we wanted. "