Cal Crutchlow admits he may be 'struggling for the podium' ahead of the opening World Superbike round of the season in Australia, despite qualifying on the front row in third position.
Signalling a major turnaround for the Yamaha team, which had been playing catch up since it was forced to reintroduce '09-specification parts to the 2010 R1, Crutchlow cruised into the Superpole shootout before a quick last gasp effort helped him secure third on the grid.
One position higher than where he qualified on his full World Supersport debut twelve months ago, the reigning WSS champion was pleased with the team's rapid progress over the weekend.
However, he stopped short of predicting a challenge for victory come race day, Crutchlow even admitting he may not even be able to retain his starting position and finish on the podium.
"This morning wasn't too bad for me, I'm pleased enough with the race pace. I think we're struggling for the podium but that's what I'm aiming for as always. If we can be somewhere near I'll be happy! We managed to get a good lap out at the end of Superpole and I was pleased with that.
“Going into the weekend we weren't even in the points, Yamaha has done a really good job this week and we've worked some stuff out. Hopefully we can keep the cooler conditions as they'll help us tomorrow. Let's see what we can do."