Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso has ruled out a podium challenge in the Malaysian MotoGP after admitting he doesn't have the pace to challenge for the top three.

The Italian rider qualified on row two in fifth place with a time of 2m 00.703s and a top six finish seems a more realistic target at Sepang.

"I'm quite happy, in free practice four we improved the speed and at that time the grip was very low. We were able to start and finish with the same lap time and that was important for us because in the other practice we made we dropped the lap time more than six tenths," Dovizioso said.

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"I'm happy about the work we made but in the qualifying I didn't make a perfect lap because I lost the front on the second tyre at Turn 6 and I lost a lot, but on the second lap I made the same lap time, so in the first lap it confirmed the tyre was able to go a minimum of three or four tenths faster.

"It's important to make a good start in the race but we don't have the speed to fight for a podium and we know that. It's an important weekend for the future because it is always important to ride in these tough conditions to understand exactly the limit we have," he added.

"I hope tomorrow we can have a race in the dry to have all the feedback possible."

Dovizioso is having issues turning the Ducati, with the blistering temperatures at Sepang resulting in lower grip and affecting the Desmosedici's corner exit speed.

"We can't turn the bike as we want, so we have to ride with really no angle on exit and that's why I'm not surprised," he said.

"All the work we made this year will be important for the future for the next bike because when we make a good result or a bad result we always have the feedback for the situation."