Jorge Lorenzo has played down his chances of winning tomorrow’s Australian Grand Prix despite qualifying second on the grid. The Yamaha rider was half a second slower than pole setter Casey Stoner and doesn’t expect to be challenging him tomorrow although crucially, he will start ahead of title rival Dani Pedrosa.

“Casey is really on another planet here, he’s riding so comfortably, sliding a lot and full throttle always so it’s very difficult to be with him. We are closer now though; in qualifying I made a really good lap with the soft tyre. Second place is a good position to be in for tomorrow, it’s important to be just behind Casey into the first corner and to follow his wheel for at least two laps as fast as we can be. A big thank you to the team who worked hard to improve the bike for me for today.”

Team Manager Wilco Zeelenberg was pleased with second place having struggled earlier in the weekend and remains optimistic about Lorenzo’s chances tomorrow.

“After yesterday’s practice we were not so positive but today we made quite some improvements, the guys worked really hard so hats off to them. We changed the bike quite a lot and Jorge felt a lot better with it this morning. The qualifying went quite smoothly, Casey is again half a second faster but he’s risking a lot and he has the feeling and the speed. Jorge is doing really well and it seems like we have a good package to fight with tomorrow.”