Danny Kent insisted Saturday afternoon's qualifying wasn't “a massive drama” after he placed a disappointing 18th place due to his team changing a gearbox during the 40-minute session.
The decision to swap transmission came after Kent was hitting the rev limiter around the tight 2.4 mile track. It did, however, leave the championship leader short of time when he attempted to improve his lap time in the final ten minutes.
Twenty four points clear of Miguel Oliveira with just one race remaining, Kent needs to finish inside the top 14 to clinch his first world championship.
However, in a ludicrously competitive Moto3 field, the 21-year old posted his worst Saturday performance of 2015 in a field that saw seven tenths of a second separating the pole time of John McPhee and Zulfahmi Khairuddin in 21st.
With Oliveira starting from fourth, Kent knows a nerve-wracking Sunday lies ahead, especially considering his set-up for race conditions is far from perfect.
“It was a bad qualifying. We made a gearbox change from the rest of the weekend and we were hitting the limiter more or less everywhere on the track. Maybe we were losing 0.4 easily just where we were hitting the limiter as everyone else's bikes just kept pulling.
“It's a little bit frustrating, we haven't got the best of feelings with the bike. We just have to look at the data, work hard and try and make a change in a different direction to see if we can make that one step faster. It's not a massive drama, we put some good sectors together. One lap I'd be fast in T1 and then the next it'd be T2 so for sure my ideal is a faster than the time we did.
“It's difficult for us because everyone else is 10kg lighter so we're just trying to find that little bit more speed. In Malaysia our bike was a lot longer than most people's and we weren't able to pass anyone so we were just trying something else.”
The scorer of just one podium in the second half of 2015, Kent stated he was feeling less pressure than in the previous rounds in Japan, Australia and Malaysia as Oliveira has drastically reduced his title lead.
Looking ahead to Sunday's showdown, Kent believes Valencia's numerous overtaking opportunities should provide ample opportunity to climb the order to claim the two points that he ultimately requires.
“I wouldn't say there's pressure at all. I felt a lot more pressure in previous races than I do now. It's just the lap times after very close around this track.”
“It's not too bad passing around here, there are a lot of braking points. The way the track is laid out there are probably only three or four passing places but there are enough places to get past.
“There was no plan at all today. It's our last qualifying, so we went out there and did what we needed to do. Whatever happened today isn't going to change tomorrow.”