Marco Melandri says he is very pleased to be starting the two World Superbike Championship races at the Moscow Raceway from fifth place after expecting to struggle in Superpole.

The Italian came into the session eager to qualify well given the anticipated lack of overtaking opportunities around the twisty Russian circuit, but admits he was struggling to hone the set-up of the BMW once on the soft tyres.

Despite this, Melandri will head up the second row - in front of key title rival Max Biaggi - and the Italian says he has more confidence in his bike's race pace.

"I am very happy because honestly I was pretty worried about qualifying," he said. "The good thing is that I have the feeling that we are in a quite good shape for the race. The negative thing is that we were still struggling with the soft tyres.

"It was difficult to make improvements. So for me to qualify for the second row was the best I could hope for and I am happy. A big thank you to my team. They really did an incredible job today. Now I hope to have a dry race tomorrow."