Andrea Iannone qualified seventh for Sunday's COTA MotoGP round using the harder of his rear tyres.

The Italian, who claimed a podium on his Factory Ducati debut in Qatar, struggled with the special Open class rear tyre that should have pushed him up the order in qualifying.

"I'm really happy because I'm so fast with the harder tyre," Iannone said. "I don't use the soft tyre because I was slower with it. Why I don't know. It's really important I understand this because for the future, for qualifying, it's very important to use the soft tyre and starting from the front of the grid is really important in MotoGP.

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"Now I don't have the feeling to push really hard with the soft tyre. The bike changes a lot and for me it is like changing the track. It changes things so much and I don't know why.

"But ok, with the harder tyre I have a good pace because in FP4 [fifth quickest] I was fast. I'm really happy for this. My team worked a lot to improve the bike."

Weather remains a major question mark for the race, but if warm-up is dry Iannone plans to try and work on improving the stability of the new GP15.

"The bike now is not so bad. I have a good feeling but I'll be really happy [if we can] improve a little bit the stability because when I change direction with the braking the bike has much movement and this is a little bit difficult. Because when you want to focus on the corner this is not so good. But ok the bike is really good and improving step-by-step and we understand which is the way."

Can he fight for the podium again?

"Everything is possible but at this moment it's difficult [to say]. I don't check the FP4 pace of every rider. Then I will have a clearer idea."

Team-mate Andrea Dovizioso qualified in second place, using the soft tyre.