Casey Stoner said he was very satisfied to mark his return to MotoGP with a front row grid position at Estoril - even though he felt he could have done better than third but for a tire problem.
The Australian has sat out the last three races in a bid to recover from the mystery illness that had hampered his performances since the Catalunya Grand Prix in June.
He was on course for second on the grid until beaten by championship leader Valentino Rossi in the closing seconds of qualifying.
"I think we had the speed today to be on pole but two of the three tires that we had just didn't seem to generate any grip on the right side," Stoner told Italia1. "I was a little bit disappointed, because on race tires, the hard ones, we're very competitive."
Stoner said it had taken some mental adjustment to get back up to speed, but was very pleased with how his comeback event was progressing so far.
"It's a little bit difficult to switch the brain onto fast mode again," he admitted. "I've been doing nothing, no motorbike riding or anything, for nine weeks, and it's a little bit difficult just to go 'okay, it's a qualifying lap'.
"But it's a good feeling to be back and I feel more like my old self again. I can do runs consistently.
Of course I'm a little bit tired because I haven't done any training for a long, long time, but to be honest I'm very, very happy with that [result]."