James Toseland was satisfied, rather than pleased, with his efforts in qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix after squeezing inside the top ten at Motegi.
The Brit has been anticipating this weekend for some time as the final round he will endure when he has to spend the weekend learning the circuit, but he defied his lack of experience to show decent form as he makes the most of Michelin's apparent return to form.
Even so, Toseland believes he could have been higher up the grid if he had more laps to fettle the set-up on the Tech 3 Yamaha.
“I paid for my lack of time and experience on this track really,” he admitted. “To be in the top ten is not too bad but when you believe you can do a lot better it is frustrating. With four qualifiers you need half the session to use them and that just leaves you ten to fifteen laps on race tyres to find a good set-up.
“We got the bike a bit better and got into the 48s but we really need to be doing high 47s to be challenging for the top six. I'm pretty happy with my progress but with that rain session yesterday it has held me back a little bit. We made a step forward with the set-up yesterday but there is more we need to do.
Looking ahead to the race, Toseland is confident that a top six finish is in the offing, a result he considers would be important to impress his Japanese employers.
“You need a good start because there is not much distance between the start and the first corner. There is a top six finish out there if we can improve the setting and I'll be giving it my all as usual with this being such an important race for everybody at Yamaha.”
Meanwhile, team-mate Colin Edwards will start on the second row of the grid, but while the American was ultimately pleased with seventh, he was frustrated to be so far off the pace of pole sitting Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo.
“I felt like I threw everything at it today but I couldn't get close to Jorge's time. That was pretty impressive and he did an awesome job. The weird thing is that our qualifier doesn't usually spin at all but for some reason today that's all mine did. Michelin have had a great qualifier all year but today it felt more like a soft race tyre, which is very strange and I don't know if it is down to the tyre or the set-up. Looking at Jorge and how he seemed to make it work, I guess it was our set-up.”