Jonathan Rea feels the Castrol Honda team are heading in the right direction after provisionally qualifying on the second row of the grid in Italy.

The Northern Irishman tasted victory last time out at Assen and was immediately on the pace at Monza, going quickest in first practice.

Rea than set the fifth fastest time in first qualifying, led by Leon Haslam, and feels the CBR1000R machine will be even stronger tomorrow after admitting he wasn't completely comfortable with the bike yet.

“I'm actually really happy because we've pinpointed our main problem and the guys think it's should be pretty straightforward to get sorted. We haven't got the balance right for the track here so there's some more work to do there. Also we tried to improve the clutch set-up even more from Assen but that wasn't actually a step forward, so we went back to what we had.”

“I'm enjoying the track and I've been riding pretty much on my own today. Tomorrow I'll try to ride with some other guys to experience the kind of slipstreaming we can expect on Sunday. The higher track temperature this afternoon allowed us to get the softer tyre working but we went out with the harder option to make sure all the bases are covered for the race.”

Ruben Xaus didn't have a trouble free Friday either, admitting he was struggling under braking at the end of the 200mph straights.

But with some adjustments overnight, the Spaniard is still hopeful of reaching Superpole 3 on Saturday.

“The team is doing a great job but I'm having real problems stopping the bike. I've actually had the problem in earlier races this season but it's a lot bigger here at Monza and you suffer more. I'm only braking with one finger, so maybe I can apply some more pressure, but I've been braking like that for 20 years! We're not very far away from the top six and we have some ideas to try in the morning to change a little bit the balance and gearing of the bike. I think we can step up a bit tomorrow.”

Xaus ended the session in 16th and, as it stands, is in danger of missing out on the first Superpole session. He will have another chance to improve in second qualifying tomorrow morning before the top 16 knockout session starts at 14:00 BST.