Loris Capirossi admitted that he threw away a big opportunity for Suzuki when he crashed near the start of qualifying at Motegi.
MotoGP's least compeitive factory team has started to show improved form in recent races, and in this morning's practice session both Capirossi and team-mate Alvaro Bautista were in the top seven.
With the Suzuki corporation reported to be considering whether to scale back its MotoGP involvement, a good result on home ground could be very beneficial for the team, but Capirossi fell at the first corner early in qualifying and could only manage 10th on the grid with his spare bike.
"I am a little bit upset by my mistake, because I started with the harder tyre and the rhythm was so good and I felt really confident on the bike," said Capirossi. "I fell off on Turn 1, there is one big bump there and I hit that and lost the front.
"I also lost a bit of confidence after that when I jumped on the other bike, I tried to keep my rhythm, but I just didn't have the same feeling with that machine. I struggled with a bit of feeling at the front and I didn't feel I could push as much as I wanted because I didn't want to risk crashing again."
Team boss Paul Denning conceded that qualifying had been a disappointment, but remains upbeat about Suzuki's race chances.
"The guys were fifth and seventh in free practice this morning and we believe - and hope - that that is more of an indicator of their race pace," Denning said.
"Loris's crash definitely upset his rhythm, in addition to giving him a bit more pain to deal with, and that didn't help when it came to taking the next leap of faith to get further up the grid."
Capirossi agreed that all was not lost yet.
"The potential for us is good here and the bike is working well," he said. "I am very optimistic for the race and I think we can get a very positive result."
Bautista managed to take ninth on the grid.
"The qualifying was not too bad; because we needed to do a good time to get the best position to make a good start on Sunday and we achieved that - although we would have liked to be a bit further up the grid," he said. "The position is okay, but I think we can run further towards the front."