Andrea Dovizioso is confident that he can turn his first MotoGP pole position into a shot at a second career win in tomorrow's Japanese Grand Prix.
Left to represent the factory Honda team alone at its home race after his team-mate Dani Pedrosa broke his collarbone in a practice crash yesterday, Dovizioso held off strong challenges from Casey Stoner and the Yamahas to take the top spot in qualifying.
Given that his reputation is normally for a low-key practice and qualifying performance then a much stronger pace in the race, Dovizioso believes he can be a real force on Sunday having shown this rare speed in qualifying.
"It's so important at my second home race," he said of his pole at the Honda owned track. "I'm so happy and surprised about this. I think we have a really good pace for the race, because normally my style is to not go too fast in practice. So I think we can do a good race, with maybe three or four riders [fighting for the win]."
Dovizioso said his Honda was in excellent form at Motegi, though he was a little surprised that his 1m47.001s lap had stood for pole.
"We started very well yesterday but I thought I couldn't go under 1m47s," he said. "But we worked really hard and I'm so happy with the bike – we've improved a lot, with the electronics we improved the amount of wheelies. The power is so strong."