Randy de Puniet has pledged to try and put the factory MotoGP prototypes under as much pressure as he can after taking the best grid position for a CRT bike yet in Phillip Island qualifying.
De Puniet will start ninth in the Australian Grand Prix on his Aspar Aprilia – the first time that CRT machine has made it into the top 10 in qualifying.
Having been an extraordinary seventh overall in final practice, de Puniet managed to beat three of the four MotoGP Ducatis in qualifying. Eighth-placed Valentino Rossi was only 0.006 seconds faster than the Aprilia.
"Since yesterday I've had a very good feeling with the bike," de Puniet said. "I've taken a lot of pleasure to ride here. The third row is good. This morning I was seventh, now I'm ninth. I think I could've improved a little bit but unfortunately conditions were a little bit bad at the end.
"I'm feeling confident for the race and my target now is to try to follow the factory riders as well as I can."
While keen to chase a giant killing overall result, de Puniet also acknowledged that he would be keeping an eye on the CRT contest. With two races to go, de Puniet trails Aspar teammate Aleix Espargaro by 10 points in their battle for the honour of ending the season best in class. Espargaro qualified 12th in Australia.
"I hope to put a lot of gap and points between me and my team-mate, but he's still strong too," said de Puniet. "Today was a great day, I hope tomorrow will be the same."