Stoner's pole position joy tempered by set-up concerns at Estoril

Casey Stoner said concerns over the set-up of his RC213V have given his side of the Honda garage a headache for Sunday's Portuguese Grand Prix despite him sealing a first pole position of 2012

Stoner's pole position joy tempered by set-up concerns at Estoril

The Australian said attempts to improve the set-up between final practice session and qualifying had the reverse effect, to the extent that he doubted he would be able to fight for pole.

While those fears ultimately proved unfounded - Stoner claiming his first pole of the year - the Australian says Honda still has to find the optimal balance heading into tomorrow's grand prix.

"This morning we were probably a little more confident, the bike was working so well in FP3," Stoner said. "Then we tried to improve and actually made the morning strong points the weak ones. We weren't going in the right direction and I wasn't confident [of pole].

"We did find a little better feeling in the rear but we couldn't get the bike to turn and do what we wanted it to. We didn't really feel we had the pace to be on pole today, but after the red flag came out with 10 minutes remaining we were able to get out there and put together a good enough lap to take pole.

"We've been pretty fast in every session and our race pace gives us confidence but we'll have to have a think about which set up direction we go for in warm up and hope this is the best for the race.

"Hopefully we can do [that] and make having this pole worthwhile because it has been a good weekend for us and it would be lovely if we can finish it off."

Stoner's Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa said he too had been pleasantly surprised by his qualifying pace after being beset by brake issues early in the session.

"I couldn't put too many good laps together because I had some problems on the bike, first with the brakes, then with the electronics," Pedrosa said.

"After all the issues we had I think [being] on the front row is a great thing. I honestly think that in the last minutes of the session I could have taken the pole but there was a lot of traffic and I missed it by just 0.013."

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