Jorge Lorenzo hopes he will not have to come from behind to win tomorrow's French Grand Prix as he is confident he can run with the leaders from the outset at Le Mans.
The Spaniard had to hunt down leader Dani Pedrosa at Jerez three weeks ago after losing ground with a poor start and cautious first few laps, though he was eventually able to overtake the Honda rider on the final lap and secure a home win.
Lorenzo was second fastest behind Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi in today's qualifying session in France. He expects to be one of the quickest in race conditions despite believing that the rest of the pack is closing in - and has made a better start his main target.
"There are a lot of riders who are getting very fast, who have our pace," said Lorenzo. "But our pace is quite consistent, very comfortable – I can ride in 1m34.5s. So for tomorrow I think if we can make a good start and good first laps, we can fight for the victory."
His team manager Wilco Zeelenberg reckons Lorenzo will be in better shape for the early laps in France than he was at Jerez.
"Jorge has a good grid spot without the added pressure of being on pole and his race pace is definitely fast enough to allow him to run at the front tomorrow," said Zeelenberg. "We hope that the work we did in Jerez will help him with his start and give him a bit more confidence and I'm sure he won't let the others go tomorrow over the important first 10 laps."