Jorge Lorenzo was in a much happier mood on Saturday at Silverstone after qualifying on the front row for Yamaha, and coming close to splitting the Hondas which have dominated the weekend.

The World Champion commented on Friday that the Yamaha Factory team had a lot of work to do after going a second slower than pacesetter Casey Stoner in the dry free practice session. But the set-up changes clearly had the desired effect as Lorenzo held provisional pole for a spell before eventually qualifying third, just 0.217s shy of Stoner's pole position lap.

Lorenzo later admitted that he is still unsure as to whether he can take the fight to the Hondas in the 20-lap race, he was still proud of his team for closing the gap on single lap pace.

“I am very happy because tomorrow we will start from the first row and today we got a lot closer to the Hondas. I rode at a very high level today and I'm ready and focused for the race. I will do my best to make a good start tomorrow and fight for the front. At this moment our weapon is consistency. You try many things some days and some days you find a solution like today. I don't know if it is enough to fight for victory but we will give our best. I'm very proud of my crew, they really worked hard to deliver a great package for qualifying!”

Team manager Wilco Zeelenberg felt that being within a quarter of a second of the Repsol Honda on one of the longest laps of the year demonstrated that they were closing the gap on the team which has dominated much of this season.

“I'm pretty happy with the qualifying session today, the bike improved a lot compared to this morning and yesterday. We found the right way to progress and Jorge improved his riding quite a bit as well. The team worked hard between the two sessions and made a step on the bike so for dry conditions we are ready to race. We are 0.2 behind pole which is the closest we have been all year apart from Estoril. This is especially good considering the length of the track.”