Jorge Lorenzo admitted that he was too cautious in the damp Mugello qualifying session after ending up only fifth on the grid for tomorrow's Italian Grand Prix.
The world champion had set a record pace around Mugello in morning practice, but did not live up to that potential in qualifying, which saw only a brief period of dry running between rain showers.
He felt the riders ahead had been more bold when the track was least damp.
"I expected quite a lot more this afternoon, but it rained so at the beginning with the slick tyres it was so difficult and dangerous," Lorenzo told the official MotoGP website. "I paid a lot of attention - maybe too much because the other riders were more aggressive and finished with faster lap times.
"It's a pity but I had good pace this morning. I think in the race I can fight for the podium."
Lorenzo remains confident that Yamaha is getting faster and faster, and wants to capitalise on it tomorrow and try to stop polesitter Casey Stoner extending his points lead.
"Actually I felt very, very good on Saturday in the Assen race with the bike. And here I feel a little better," said Lorenzo.
"These last two races are the most confidence I've felt on the bike. So I must take profit from it for the championship, try to gain maximum points possible and if possible to finish ahead of Casey."