Bradley Smith topped his best MotoGP qualifying performance of the year to ensure he will start from the front two rows for the first time in 2015 at Le Mans.

Having ended Friday fastest, Smith sat towards the sharp end throughout Saturday's qualifying session, ending up sixth fastest.

Smith was also adamant that he could have qualified higher had he not made a mistake while braking for turn seven during his fastest lap.

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"I'm happy with it," he said on Saturday evening. "I left the lap time out there. I know I did a solid T1 and T2 in my second lap on my second tyre. I braked way too early at the entry to turn seven on the back straight. I'm kicking myself a little bit but it's nice to be kicking myself and still be sixth.

"The track felt a little greasy for me on the first run. My tyre didn't feel great so when I got the second I felt a big improvement. Anyway the lap time seems quite good. If I clean up my sector three, my sector one is really good."

Like Valentino Rossi, Smith used the short qualifying session to try out a new setting which he had hoped to use in FP4. As the session was held in wet conditions he took some time to come to terms with the new set-up.

"It's a shame. There were a few things we wanted to confirm in FP4. We gambled. I used that in Q2 but when it's something new it takes a while to get up to speed and get that feeling. Especially when you're trying to extract the maximum you can from the bike. It was the right decision because it's the right direction for tomorrow but maybe for qualifying it helped me a little bit.

"I think we are fortunate enough that even though we're below 25 degrees we've got the softest compound available. They're not as bad. This morning was really cold and you had to be really careful.

"When you're qualifying you don't have time to be careful, you have to go out and go. You can't poodle around and then go. It's important to keep that temperature in. You just have to focus more and everyone has to be on point."