MONTEREY, Calif. (Sept. 28) - Dane Westby nearly put his GEICO Motorcycle Honda on the front row of Sunday's GoPro Daytona SportBike race, but he's more than happy starting the GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing Series season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca from the No. 4 position.

"We were real close," Westby said. "We would have been on a conventional front row in the last spot. We'll happily take it considering all the improvements we've been making. It's nice to see it all fall into place."

Westby's best lap was in one minute, 27.418 seconds and came after a late-session rear-tire change.

"The board showed P2 there for a while," Westby said. "I knew there was an extra second in that tire. I matched yesterday's qualifying time on a used tire, which showed we'd made some big leaps forward. I knew when we threw that new tire on there that there was definitely some time in it."

The ride was Westby's second-best qualifying effort of the season.

"The improvement on the new tire was about what I expected," Westby said. "It was nice to see some 1:27s on my gauges. I've got a predictive lap timer on the bike. I saw some 1:26s on there at one point. I wasn't able to string that lap together, but it's good to know a lap that good is in there."

Westby also has been impressed with the bike's performance over the long haul this weekend and expects to mix it up with the lead pack of riders on Sunday.

"I feel better about the race pace today than I did yesterday," Westby said. "Yesterday I clocked my best lap time following someone. Today I was able to improve and did it by myself. I was able to catch up to and pass some of my competition, which feels nice.

"I'll be on the inside of the second row, which is pretty good. I hope to get off to a good start and be up front right away. I don't plan to give an inch in that first corner tomorrow."

Sunday's race starts at 9:30 a.m. PDT from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.