James Toseland has admitted he needs to drastically improve his qualifying performances to boost his hopes of threatening closer to the top six in MotoGP.
The British rider has shown steady improvement in recent weeks on the Tech 3 Yamaha YZR-M1.
After his big winter testing crashes in Sepang and Jerez he’s recovered his form to finish in the top ten twice in the last three races.
But Toseland’s top six aspirations are being hindered by his qualifying performances, with the double World Superbike champion yet to qualify higher than the fourth row of the grid in 2009.
And Toseland recognises qualifying is where he needs to improve, with the ban on qualifying tyres for this season hitting Toseland harder than some of his rivals.
The 28-year-old told MCN: "It has been a problem this season and something that I’m working on. Getting a good grid position is absolutely crucial in MotoGP. So many riders now are capable of running the same lap times and on the 800s overtaking is not that easy, so if you’re starting way back is hard to come through and pick off a few guys. Last year with the Michelin qualifying tyre I could put in a good lap and bump myself much further up the grid.
"The Michelin qualifier was awesome and I really got on with it. But now we’re doing qualifying on a soft race tyre and it is having the confidence to stick your neck out. Being higher up the grid last year meant I could get away with the guys in the top ten and put up a good fight."
"In Japan and Le Mans I’ve been running similar lap times to the guys in front of me, but it’s hard when the times are close to pass them." Toseland is back on track next weekend in Mugello for the Italian GP on May 31.