Jorge Lorenzo says a “misunderstanding” that meant he did not use a new MotoGP front tyre on his final qualifying run cost him the chance to grab pole in Austria.
Lorenzo battled for top spot with factory Ducati team-mate Andrea Dovizioso and eventual polesitter Marc Marquez but ended up third, 0.135 seconds off the pace.
He had three qualifying attempts during qualifying, one more than Marquez and Dovizioso, and each time used a new soft rear tyre.
But he kept the same front tyre for the whole session, even though he had the chance to use fresh rubber on his final run.
“Probably at the end we had enough time to use a new soft tyre that I always prefer to go a little bit faster,” he said.
“There was a little bit of a misunderstanding in the garage and we didn’t use it. So this probably cost us a little bit the chance to fight for pole.
“We all knew that the three of us [he, Dovizioso and Marquez] would be close for pole position. We are just one tenth [away].”
Lorenzo admitted he was missing confidence in sector three on Friday, and said he was still not completely comfortable a day later.
He felt the problem had less to do with the bike and was more a result of his riding style.
“In FP4 I improved a little bit in that sector, but unfortunately there’s still something missing,” he added.
“So I don’t think it’s about the setting or the bike, I think it’s more about my riding style.
“I’m going to study with the video a little bit and see if if I can do something for tomorrow.
“In the warm-up I think we’re going to try something that can improve the braking a little bit, so hopefully we can find some more tenths.”
Marquez, who beat Dovizioso to pole by two thousandths, said sector three – which features two sweeping left-handers – was where he made ground on the Ducati rider during their in-race battle last year, but did not expect to enjoy a similar advantage again.
“This year Dovi studied well and he improved,” Marquez added.
“I see immediately from FP1 [that] he changed the line and he improved. “Tomorrow Jorge will improve [in sector three] so everything will be more equal.”