Dani Pedrosa will start fifth in Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix. (Photo: Getty Images)

will start fifth in Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix. (Photo: Getty Images)

Dani Pedrosa topped three of the four practice sessions ahead of qualifying for the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix, but managed no more than fifth in the grid-deciding period. Despite this, the Repsol Honda Team rider remains upbeat heading towards Sunday.

Pedrosa faces the possibility of mathematically dropping out of the title chase this weekend, although the Spaniard remains confident that he is able to repeat the victory he first achieved in wet conditions one year ago. On Saturday, the field was again tested by a slippery track surface following a light rain shower.

“It wasn’t easy…a couple of corners were wet and so it wasn’t easy for qualifying,” Pedrosa emphasised after qualifying. “I managed to do a great lap; it wasn’t enough today, but overall I am happy with the performance.”

On Friday, the Sabadell rider had spoken of pain in his hip following the dramatic highside which ended his Aragón Grand Prix just under two weeks ago.

“I felt less pain today,” Pedrosa was pleased to report. “We will work on it later with a little more therapy, to be able to improve the feeling on the bike tomorrow. Regarding the race, I am just hoping to make a good start, but we will have to wait and see about the weather.”

In order to retain a mathematical chance of clinching a maiden world title in 2013, Pedrosa must score points at Sepang if teammate Marc Marquez is to finish on the podium.

TV ALERT — Watch Live coverage of the Malaysian Grand Prix Sunday at 4a ET on FOX Sports 1.

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