Dani Pedrosa feels he still has to find more speed before Sunday's United States Grand Prix if he is to challenge polesitter Jorge Lorenzo for victory.
Although the Hondas of Casey Stoner and Pedrosa start on the front row alongside Lorenzo's Yamaha, the reigning champion was comfortably fastest in qualifying and looked very strong on his longer runs.
Pedrosa qualified third, and felt he had not managed to get the best from his bike yet.
"We couldn't improve as much as I'd like to in the final part of the practice, we tried some different settings and unfortunately we didn't find a good one, but to start from the front row is always important and here we are again," he said.
"I felt more comfortable with the hard tyres, which it's positive because they will be the ones used for the race, but we still need to make another step forward tomorrow and hopefully find a little more grip in the rear.
"Lorenzo seems very stable and fast, so I hope to find something else with my mechanics tonight and to be able to fight for a great result tomorrow."
Pedrosa won at the Sachsenring a week ago, in a breakthrough result just two races after his return from an injury absence. Although he expects Laguna Seca to be a tougher test for his physical condition, he is optimistic about his prospects.
"The race will be very fast, there are many laps here, so it will be important to be focus on every lap and stay strong until the end," said Pedrosa.
"I know the race distance will be hard for me physically, you have to work a lot in this track, there are a lot of bumps and you need to be very focused not to make any mistakes. But I will try my best and I hope to stay strong and consistent until the end."