Cal Crutchlow says his excellent front row qualifying spot at Misano came despite tire-warming issues preventing him from extracting everything out of the bike.
Fresh from securing his first MotoGP podium in the previous grand prix at Brno, Crutchlow stormed into provisional pole before improving his own benchmark with two minutes of the session to run.
He found himself squeezed out however by championship protagonists Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo, finishing just 0.144s off the eventual pole time.
Crutchlow said he managed that despite struggling to get heat into his tyres, a problem exacerbated by a lack of practice running.
"It was difficult to begin with, we struggled for rear grip and we couldn't get heat in the left hand side," Crutchlow said.
"Even though we were doing more laps the tyres felt worse. We need to address that before tomorrow as I wasn't willing to push - the last thing I wanted to do was land on my head."
Crutchlow said there was still cause to be positive, particularly given his speed in each of the circuit's four sectors.
"I'm happy to be on the front row and I am fast in all parts of the track," he said.
"To be honest I felt a bit rusty because after missing the whole of yesterday's practice with the weather, Brno felt like a long time ago.
"If my four best sector times were put together I'd have been in pole position.
"I went one second faster than I did last year when every session was dry, so we have improved.
"I know where I need to [improve] as well - you can't just look at the bike, you need to look at yourself as well - and hopefully we can come back stronger in the race."