Jorge Lorenzo says it was a case of 'mission accomplished' after the Movistar Yamaha rider prepared for his bid to win a third MotoGP crown with perfect lap to secure pole at Valencia.
Lorenzo trails team-mate Valentino Rossi by seven points ahead of the title decider in Spain and exuded supreme confidence as the 28-year-old pulverised Marc Marquez's 2013 pole record with a scorching time of 1m 30.011s to head up the front row, surprisingly for the first time at the Ricardo Tormo circuit.
It was an imperious qualifying performance by Lorenzo, who goes into the championship finale as the clear favourite to claim the title with Rossi forced to start from last place on the grid following the Italian's accumulation of four Penalty Points, three of which were incurred as a result of his infamous clash with Marquez last time out at Sepang in Malaysia.
A front row target was Lorenzo's primary target and he achieved his objective emphatically with a lap he described as the best of his career.
“I had the opportunity to make a very good lap time in the past; I remember when we had the qualifying tyres in 2008 for example I make also impressive lap times,” said Lorenzo.
“But to be honest, I think the lap of today would be very difficult to repeat even if I tried many times because the bike was perfect in this lap, the rear tyre was working very well in acceleration and traction, and also I ride as fast as possible in all the corners, so very happy with the lap time.
“Today the goal was to try to stay on the first row and I was surprised to make this pole position because when I saw the lap time from Marc [Marquez], '30.4, I expected to get closer – maybe '30.5 or '30.6 – but sometimes the lap time on the dashboard surprise you and it was the case this time.”
With qualifying completed and his first objective attained, Lorenzo can now switch his full focus to Sunday's race, with his hard-earned pole offering the perfect Launchpad for the double premier class champion to attempt his trademark breakaway on the opening laps.
“Today, the mission has been done: that was to stay in the front row. Starting from pole position, it is very important to make a good start and avoid some problems in the first laps because the tension is high – the tension before the qualifying was very high and to manage this tension is very hard; this can make you weaker or even stronger,” Lorenzo said.
“Luckily, it was the second option today and I could make this very fast lap time, but obviously tomorrow is the important day, the day that gives you the points and we are fighting for very important things. I have to stay focused, do my best and don't make mistakes.”
With his third MotoGP world title almost within touching distance, Lorenzo – asked if he would sleep easy on the eve of the series finale – joked that he may need 'a pill' to help him nod off on Saturday night.
“I don't know, maybe I will need some little pill to help me! Last night I wake up very early for me and normally I can sleep a lot,” he said.
“Last night, maybe the jet lag is still in the body from the three previous races. The first week, I wake up very early and now little by little I wake up later, but still I cannot sleep like before.”