Jorge Lorenzo reckons his Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi will be a strong threat for an eighth Mugello MotoGP victory tomorrow despite only qualifying on the second row -- but is confident he can match the Italian legend.
Today's result is the first time that Rossi has been off the front row at Mugello in the premier class. However Lorenzo said Rossi's practice and long run times proved he would be a factor in the race.
"For sure Valentino has good pace here," Lorenzo told the BBC. "We looked at the lap times, and Valentino has the same pace as us.
"But we have good pace too, and we can fight with him."
Rossi has won the last seven Mugello MotoGP races, and has huge support from his home crowd at the track -- something Lorenzo was very aware of as he snatched pole position at the end of a very close session.
"I could see on my fast lap that there were only about 10 people [supporting me] for about 100,000 of Valentino's fans," the Spaniard admitted.
"It's great to take pole position here in Italy because the Italian riders are so fast. I think tomorrow we will see a good fight -- maybe three or four riders will fight for the victory. I hope to be one of them."
Lorenzo currently leads the championship by a single point over Rossi and Casey Stoner, having rebounded from his Jerez crash by winning at Le Mans. Today's result made Lorenzo the only repeat pole-winner of 2009 so far, and he is also the only rider to have won more than once this year.