Jorge Lorenzo brushed aside a suggestion that his qualifying performance in wet conditions at Sepang came as a surprise, as he pointed toward several examples of his speed in similar weather in the past.
The reigning world champion has appeared in good shape throughout the race weekend in Malaysia, his third fastest time on Saturday afternoon testament to this, as the new track surface offers up plenty of grip.
Asked whether he had surprised himself with a time that was only bettered by Andrea Dovizioso, and then late into the 15-minute shootout, Valentino Rossi, Lorenzo said, “I don't think it's true that I've never been competitive on the rain.
“Probably with the Michelin, I struggle a lot, especially the first two races in the rain to find good confidence in the front. But in the past with the Bridgestone, I won races in the rain, I made pole positions, and I made podiums.
“So I think I can be competitive in the rain, like I did today, I just need confidence. For the rider, when you don't have confidence, it's very complicated to be fast, as we saw so many examples in the past and present, and will see in the future.
“Unfortunately, we couldn't make a perfect practice on the dry, because finally, even in the last minutes there were still some little patches of water. As Rossi said, we have this problem of the track drying up, it's very difficult.
“But the grip instead is perfect, it's amazing the grip. Apart from these two corners where they modified the banking, it's a little bit strange. The grip is so good, and our bike with good grip and without bumps works very well. So I've been competitive throughout the dry, and also in the wet.
“We tried a strategy to keep pushing all through the qualifying, starting from the first. I make so many laps and the pace was very good, but maybe not explosive enough to fight for the pole position. Anyway, the important thing is first row, we start in a good position, and let's see the weather, if it's dry, dry mix, or wet race.�
Having scored just ten points in the past two races, a sharp contrast to an in form Maverick Viles, with whom he is vying for third in the championship, Lorenzo is well aware that he needs to perform well to maintain his place in the top three.
“Yes, here we are four riders with more or less the same pace, it was amazing how close we were at the end of the practice. On the wet, finally I felt very comfortable in both free practice, free practice four and qualifying.
“So maybe with Maverick we have a little bit better pace. But wet race, anything can happen. You can have a crash in any corner, on any lap, so we just prefer a dry race for everyone.�