Andrea Dovizioso is confident he has the speed to match Jorge Lorenzo at Mugello but admits he remains in the dark over whether or not he can run with the Movistar Yamaha rider for the race duration.

Dovizioso qualified third fastest for the Italian MotoGP behind Lorenzo and his Ducati team-mate Andrea Iannone and heads into Sunday's race feeling optimistic of delivering a dream result for the passionate home crowd.

The Italian star, who was due to debut a new engine on Saturday along with Iannone, said: "[The lap time] (Andrea) Iannone made is something really fast but to be on the first row was the target and the lap time is really good and I am happy.

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"I had a really good feeling when I did the lap so that is really important for the race because when you arrive in the qualifying and you are able to do what you want you can start the race with all the package in your mind.

"I believe we have the speed to fight with [Jorge] Lorenzo, we have to see if the improvement we made during the week is good enough to stay with him until the end of the race," he added.

"It will be very difficult, this is the reality, especially in this track because you can't really be aggressive and gain sometimes because you can't be aggressive for 23 laps - you have to be very fast in a smooth way, so this is the difficult point tomorrow in the race.

"But we have the speed and when you have the speed you are able to play and to work and try to find some corners or some points where you can gain a little bit on the braking or on the exit, or maybe the straight for us is a good point."

Dovizioso is also wary of the threat posed by Valentino Rossi, who will have to make a fast start from the third row to prevent the leaders from escaping after The Doctor could only qualify in eighth place.

"I'm optimistic, I know it will be very difficult, also because Valentino [Rossi] has a good pace, but he starts on the third row so it is important for him, the start tomorrow," Dovi said.

"Also Dani [Pedrosa], I saw him very, very fast but nobody knows his physical situation for the whole race. Anything can happen tomorrow but for sure Jorge's pace is a little bit more consistent than everybody."

Tyre degradation remains a key talking point for Sunday's race and Dovizioso says it is a case of managing the situation for the conditions prevalent in the race.

"The drop of the tyre is one of the key points in the race and at Mugello, normally in the afternoon the grip is not so high and that can make a difference," he said.

"But from the first lap it sometimes happens that everybody has less grip so the difference is how fast you are in the corners. You never know the condition in the race and most of the time it is not like in the practice.

"It is a question mark but we have to start in the front and see how we continue the race."