Jorge Lorenzo says the results of Qatar Grand Prix qualifying prove that Yamaha is ready to fight for the MotoGP world title again in 2012.
Yamaha could only occasionally match the dominant Hondas in 2011, as its run of three straight title triumphs came to an end.
But at Losail on Saturday Lorenzo beat Honda's Casey Stoner to pole, while Tech 3 Yamaha rider Cal Crutchlow secured a career-best third on the grid, and Ben Spies put the second factory bike fourth, despite a late crash. Andrea Dovizioso qualified sixth for his Tech 3 Yamaha debut.
"It's clear that something changed this year," said Lorenzo. "We are more competitive - not only me, also Cal is in third position, very close to me and very close to the pole position. Ben is there, and Andrea. So Yamaha is working really well."
Lorenzo still feels that Yamaha lacks the straightline performance of its main rivals, but believes its cornering speed is making up for this.
"We have some problems with maximum speed that we have to solve in the future but anyway, in the corners - and especially at the end of the corners - the bike is working well and I feel very confident and very comfortable riding it," he said.