Cal Crutchlow believes the Tech 3 Yamaha team is in better shape at Aragon than its disappointing 12th and 15th positions on the grid suggest, though he admits that a lack of straightline speed will be an issue for him and teammate Colin Edwards.
The Aragon weekend is proving to be one of Tech 3's toughest of 2011 so far, with neither bike featuring at the front in practice and Crutchlow 1.4sec off the pace as he qualified on the outside of row four – three places clear of Edwards' sister machine.
But Crutchlow said the extremely close grid was making Tech 3's situation look worse than it really was.
"I don't think 12th place on the grid really reflects just how well myself and the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team have been performing this weekend," he argued. "I've come to a new track and pretty much lost a session with all of yesterday's power problems and yet another couple of tenths would have put me in the top six on the grid.
"I am really happy with the way I'm riding and happy with my crew, who have done a great job again this weekend. The times are so close that 12th could quite easily have been sixth or seventh, but I'm still confident that I can race inside the top 10 tomorrow."
He admitted that his bike's relative lack of power could be an issue tomorrow.
"It is going to be difficult because we've got a bit of a speed issue on the straight," said Crutchlow. "I'm really strong in three sections of the track but in the last sector I'm a long way down the split times and that makes it quite difficult.
"It is not going to be easy to pass people but I'll get my head down and push as hard as I can to do the best job possible. The goal as always will be the top 10 and I'm looking forward to a good battle."
Edwards said rear grip was hampering him as well as the straightline speed deficit.
"We've gone from qualifying seventh in Misano to 15th, so it is clear we've had a few issues this weekend," he said.
"One is the bike isn't the fastest out there and I've not got a lot of rear grip. The moment I touch the throttle the rear tire spins, and that combined with the engine means we simply aren't fast enough.
"I guess we've got to back to the drawing board tonight and see if we can come up with something, but it is going to be a tough race."