Casey Stoner admitted his Assen qualifying effort was compromised by worries over tire temperature following his crash at the start of morning practice.
In a bizarre string of incidents, all three works Honda team riders – Stoner, Andrea Dovizioso and Hiroshi Aoyama – had heavy falls within two minutes early in today's practice session, with a lack of tire temperature in left-handers seemingly the cause.
"The slip-off very early in the session this morning wasn't the best way to start," said Stoner, who ultimately qualified third. "We were a bit bruised and sore. But in general we just lost a little confidence in the left-hand side of the tire. We just can't seem to get any heat into it.
"It doesn't really matter what we do with the setup, we seem to just go round in a circle and not really make any improvements. So this afternoon we tried a few different things to get our race pace a little better. We got slowly there, but it's still nowhere near good enough. We'd like to have a little bit more pace for long distance.
"For the longevity of the tire, we seem to be using it up a little bit too quickly."
Stoner said that given these issues, he was lacking confidence when it came to his pole shot.
"When I went onto the soft tires again for the qualifying lap, I just wasn't willing to push," he conceded. "I just didn't have the confidence in the temperature on the left-hand side and I came across the line and got a checkered flag when I was set to start my second fast lap."
Despite his problems, Stoner reckoned pole-man Marco Simoncelli was always going to be out of reach.
"It's a little bit disappointing but I don't think I would've been able to get Marco for pole position," said the championship leader.
"The whole weekend he's been very fast and very consistent, so my hat's off to him."