Stoner expects stronger race

Casey Stoner admitted that he had a poor qualifying session after his run of poles ended with a fourth place on the Estoril grid, but is optimistic that his Honda will be more competitive in tomorrow's Portuguese Grand Prix

Stoner expects stronger race

After starting from pole at both of the season's first two rounds, Stoner has not been fully comfortable with his Honda in Portugal so far this weekend and was unable to get onto the front row.

"Today hasn't really been that great for us either, this morning's session was pretty much a waste of time - we were just working on our wet setting that we weren't really happy with in Jerez," he said.

"We improved that situation a little and we can hopefully expect a better feeling next time in wet conditions.

"This afternoon we continued on from yesterday, trying to find a better balance under braking and mid-turn corner speed but it wasn't until towards the middle, end of session that we started to make some improvements with the bike."

The Australian felt that his qualifying laps had not shown the full potential of the bike once he had found the set-up he wanted.

"Every time I went out the balance didn't feel correct so we tried to go in another direction, finally we found the right route and we improved a little bit more each run after that, but unfortunately I wasn't able to use the qualifying tyre like I wanted to.

"When I went out there with the only new tyre that we had for the session, I made a few mistakes in the early laps so didn't really use the best of the tyre."

But he is feeling more confident about his bike's long-run pace.

"I think the race potential is there now and hopefully we can have a good race tomorrow," said Stoner.

While Dani Pedrosa was the works Honda team's top qualifier in third place, Andrea Dovizioso was pleased to get the third bike as high as sixth after a tough time in practice.

"It was important to start from a good position so I'm happy to start from the second row tomorrow," said the Italian.

"We worked on the setting and stability in the front improved so I could push more this afternoon, compared with yesterday. I rode quite consistently but I wasn't able to gain some more tenths and lap under 1m38s. We have two points we would like to work on tomorrow so I hope that the track conditions are fine during the warm-up.

"Today's result gives us more confidence for the race after a difficult session yesterday."

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