Jonathan Rea believes he shouldn't be discounted for a victory challenge in the final round of the World Superbike Championship after stating his pace on race tyres is better than it is on softer rubber.
The Northern Irishman was on provisional pole position heading into Superpole, but qualified his Ten Kate Honda on the outside of the front row in fourth at the crucial moment when he was baulked by a slower Fonsi Nieto in the final sector.
While his lap would not have been good enough to beat Ben Spies' pole winning effort, it would have been closer to his Q2 time of 1min 42.719secs, one that could have seen him qualify second instead.
Nonetheless, Rea was satisfied with his front row grid slot all the same, insisting it is his consistent pace on race tyres that is of more importance to him.
“I'm actually quite happy – it's a front row start after all, and we've been right on the pace all weekend so far. The strange thing is that the bike seems to work better on race tyres than it does on the qualifiers, so I think we're ready and feeling confident for tomorrow.
“I had a few problems with other riders on the track and I made a few mistakes of my own, but I'm not going to be too down in the dumps about it. I'm really looking forward to tomorrow's two races, which are going to be a proper dog fight, for sure!”
Team-mate Carlos Checa will start his final event for Ten Kate Honda in 12th position after once again failing to get the best out of his bike over a single lap.
“Once again, we seem to have struggled in qualifying. I did the same lap times on the qualifying tyre as I did on the race tyre. Qualifying yesterday and this morning was good and we had the pace for top five. But with the qualifying tyres in the bike, we don't seem to have enough pace even for the top eight.
“I'm not so worried though, and I think we can run top five pace again in the races with a good start. The races are long so there will be plenty of overtaking opportunities.