Danilo Petrucci was relieved to see a few rays of light in his difficult run after the Italian qualified as the top Ducati at the Thai Grand Prix.

The 28-year old navigated a path through Q1 before posting the fifth fastest time in Q2, one place ahead of Jack Miller and two clear of Andrea Dovizioso.

It was a welcome result after Petrucci’s recent difficulties in the second half of the season, which has seen him struggle to finish inside the top six in the past five races.

“First of all it’s not a secret that I always suffer in this condition,” said Petrucci. “Tomorrow will be one of the hardest races of the entire calendar. Anyway I’m quite satisfied about today. Yesterday was strange to say that I was on the right way.

“Today we didn’t have the chance to ride in FP3. We were quite fast and I did a good qualifying. It’s just a small part of the entire weekend because the biggest part is tomorrow.

“But the starting position is very, very important because we know by following other bikes that the temperature is much more for brakes and for tyre [if you’re in cool air].

“The fewer bikes you have in front, the better the situation is. We’ll see. We have to manage. It will be a long race. As I said yesterday I am more relaxed and focussed on tomorrow.

“I know I can do a good race. I must say I still don’t have the pace for the podium but we can fight for the top five. It will be tough but I want to proceed by little steps to come back to where I was in July.”

On his challengers for tomorrow he said, “I think the Yamahas are quite fast. Marquez as always and then Rins and the three Ducatis with me. A lot of riders. But for the podium? I don’t know.

“I care about the people I have close to me. It’s a track where there are a lot of braking areas. One mistake can cost a lot. There are a lot of laps and a lot of hard braking areas so it’s difficult to recover from a mistake.

“So it will be tough but I think staying around the top five will be possible.

“For sure our competitor has grown a bit. We struggled a bit with traction. I need to understand where I need to work when there is a lack of grip on the track. But now I think I did a step and I’m coming faster for when there is a lack of grip on the track.”