Ultra-close lap times and some riders on the Open class soft tyre mean Jorge Lorenzo isn't taking anything for granted in Saturday's qualifying session for the Qatar MotoGP season opener.

Lorenzo finished eighth after Free Practice 3, but was just 0.286s behind Honda pace setter and reigning world champion Marc Marquez.

"It will be a hard fight for the front row tomorrow, because many riders have the extra soft tyre, that gives them four-tenths of a second," said the Movistar Yamaha rider.

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"They are also stronger than last year, so it will even be difficult to get a position on the second row, but you never know what will happen. Maybe we can find something that will give us half a second and even let us fight for pole position."

The Open class soft is unlikely to be used in the race when most riders are expected to opt for the medium compound, although some factory class competitors are yet to rule out the hard option.

"I feel great on the bike with our soft tyre [the medium compound]," said Lorenzo. "We also tried the harder tyre, which is very consistent. I could maybe do around a hundred laps of 1m 56.1 on it, but this is too slow, so, for the moment, I prefer the softer option.

"We found some problems with the electronics this afternoon that were a little strange. We need to investigate what's going on. We'll keep working to increase our pace to a high 1m 54, which is our goal."

Lorenzo was one place ahead of team-mate Valentino Rossi.