Andrea Iannone said he gave his all in his bid for a second successive premier class pole at Mugello, but in the end the Ducati rider had to settle for third place on the front row.
Iannone, whose move to Suzuki in 2017 was confirmed this week after he wasn't offered a new deal at Ducati, had topped the times in dry practice all weekend at the Italian circuit, but was nudged off the top spot by Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales in the final moments of Q2 on Saturday, lapping in 1m 46.607s to finish a tenth of a second down on Rossi.
“Always I'm very happy because to start from the first row is always important, especially at Mugello because it is very difficult to overtake, especially during the race when the grip is a little bit less,” Iannone said.
“Yes, last year we started from pole position and this year I tried my best, but it is very difficult and I risked a lot during my fast lap, but I don't know: I tried my best and it's very difficult to improve my lap time.
“In another way, I am very happy because we improved the bike practice by practice and with the team, the work is very good and this I think is the most important for the race,” he added.
“Tomorrow I think it will be an incredible race and the start is very important. Vale [Valentino Rossi], Maverick [Vinales] and also Jorge [Lorenzo] and Marc [Marquez] have a very good pace for the race and I think it will be an incredible battle and a very difficult race.”
Iannone has shown plenty of potential this season but individual errors have cost him dear and the Italian hopes to make amends in Sunday's race by finishing on the podium at least.
“I hope because in these last races it is very difficult,” Iannone said.
“Always before the race we have a very good potential but during the race, I go down also in Le Mans so this year it is difficult for us and we hope tomorrow it is better.
“For sure I expect a lot for the race tomorrow because we have shown a good potential and a very good pace this weekend and I have a very good feeling with the bike,” he added.
“Also, the work with my team improved and is very good, but the first five riders are very close and it is a very difficult race, also for the physical condition, but for sure we will try our best.”