Dani Pedrosa has admitted he is still some way off achieving a pace capable of challenging for honours after a largely promising MotoGP qualifying session at Phillip Island.

The scorer of a second and first placed finish in the past two races, Pedrosa sat on the provisional front row with moments to spare before late laps from Andrea Iannone and Jorge Lorenzo pushed him back to fourth.

Accepting his afternoon had been an improvement compared to the morning FP3, when he placed a dismal 18th in cool, windy conditions, Pedrosa acknowledged his Repsol Honda team is "still far from" the pace of team-mate Marc Marquez.

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"Today was not so good," began the 30-year old. "I had a lot of bad feelings in the morning with the cold and the wind. It was very difficult for me to do good lap times. In the afternoon it was a little better but it was still far from the good pace. In qualifying I did improve but I missed the front row at the end.

"For tomorrow for sure it's going to be hard. There are a lot of riders on the same pace, except one or two riders that are faster clearly. The rest are more or less lapping the same. Sure, a hard race and we need to focus a lot."

Pressed to expand on the areas affecting him most, Pedrosa identified the blustery conditions and the 2.7 mile track's lack of grip, an all-too-common concern for the MotoGP field.

"The wind and the rear grip [are problematic]. With the rear I don't have any rear grip. I try to compare with Marc but it's very difficult for me to get any grip because I am extra light. The tyre is so stiff at this track I cannot make the tyre work. I struggle with that. At the same time I struggle with the wind."