Andrea Dovizioso admitted he was very disappointed to end Qatar Grand Prix qualifying only seventh on a grid led by his Honda team-mates Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa, but is confident he can be up with Pedrosa at least on race pace.
The Italian has been overshadowed by Stoner and Pedrosa since Honda expanded its works lineup to three bikes for this year. Dovizioso put his poor result tonight down to a lack of affinity with the soft qualifying tire and is sure he can fight for the podium in race trim.
"I'm disappointed with the third row, I need to improve the use of the soft tire for a better qualifying," he said. "The positive point is that we have a good pace to fight for a podium spot, this is our target tomorrow.
"We will work during the warm-up to improve the set-up to get more stability at the beginning of the braking and I hope to gain more confidence and find a good stability in the front."
He hopes to immediately get up with the frontrunners, and is confident he will be a match for everyone bar Stoner in the grand prix. For the race it will be very important to have a good start and arrive at Turn 1 close to the first riders," Dovizioso said. "It is impossible to catch Casey, I will try to maintain contact with Dani, [Jorge] Lorenzo and [Ben] Spies. It's important to start the season with a good result and I will give everything in the race."