Jorge Lorenzo believes his Yamaha is getting better and better after coming close to splitting Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa on the Jerez grid, but still feels Honda will be tough to catch in the race.
Until the final moments of qualifying it looked like Lorenzo might be able to hang on to second place behind Stoner, only for Pedrosa to pip him by 0.003sec.
Lorenzo had been doubtful whether he would be anywhere near the podium in the opening rounds when he struggled in the final winter tests, so was thrilled to take second in Qatar and to keep the Hondas so far in sight in Spain.
"The bike has improved a lot, especially under braking, so I feel more comfortable," said Lorenzo. "But we are still a little bit far from the Honda riders, so we hope tomorrow, which will be a difficult race, to be closer."
The qualifying session saw a host of riders suffering low-side crashes as changing temperatures caught people out. But Lorenzo reckoned his Yamaha seemed to be handling the weather better than most.
"The track was better this morning, the lap times were faster, but we were the only ones who could more or less maintain the same pace as this morning," he said.