Jorge Lorenzo is confident he can beat Dani Pedrosa to victory in the Japanese Grand Prix despite the Honda's practice form.
Pedrosa and Honda have been the pacesetters in recent MotoGP rounds, but their run was interrupted by Pedrosa's disastrous San Marino GP, which allowed Lorenzo to pull clear in the title battle. The Honda man then responded with a dominant performance at Aragon, and was quickest in Friday practice at Motegi as well.
But Lorenzo was only a tenth of a second adrift of Pedrosa and is confident his Yamaha is a match for the Honda this weekend.
"We started in a very good way here, much better than in Aragon where we had issues with the life of the rear tire," said Lorenzo. "We have a very good pace and with a little change in the electronics were able to go a bit faster.
"The Hondas are very good here but our bike is also, so I think we can fight with them for the victory."
Lorenzo's teammate Ben Spies was sixth, but reckoned most of his 0.8sec deficit to the front was due to tire choice.
"We didn't try the soft rear but focused on trying to make the hard tire work in case it's the race tire," Spies explained. "I think it's unlikely as everyone who went out faster than us at the end was on the softer option, so to be eight tenths off on the hard is not so bad.
"I think with the soft we'll see a true result of where we can be and what the bike is capable of."