Title contender Noriyuki Haga was keeping cool about his chances for the remainder of the World Superbike weekend in Portugal after finishing the opening day in ninth position, half a second down on Ben Spies.

With the playing field levelled by Haga and Spies' prior experience of the Portimao circuit, it was the Ducati man to held the upper hand over his rival during free practice with the second fastest time overall.

However, Haga was unable to improve his lap times quite as much during provisional qualifying, leaving him in ninth position.

Focusing on race set-up, although Haga admits he is not entirely satisfied with having ended the day as only the fifth best placed Ducati, he remains 'pretty confident' he will be competitive when it matters.

"The lap times today were faster than those recorded during testing earlier this year. In general we haven't had any real problems but we are working to find the optimal setting and we'll continue this work tomorrow. I would like to find more grip but apart from that I am pretty confident, I know we are fast and that we can be very competitive here."

Team-mate Michel Fabrizio didn't fare much better down in seventh position, behind the three satellite 1098s of Jakub Smrz, Shane Byrne and Fonsi Nieto. Nonetheless, he insists things are 'under control'.

"For now I'd say we have things under control. Today we worked mainly with the hard tyres to improve feeling on the track surface. I don't yet have total faith in the front of the bike and the asphalt was not in the best condition, which meant I couldn't really push as hard as I wanted to.

"Tomorrow we'll make some more changes, testing some different tyres and hopefully I'll be able to improve significantly on my time."