Valentino Rossi will start his first MotoGP race since May from fifth on the grid at the Sachsenring on Sunday.

The reigning seven time MotoGP champion, returning to the track one month ahead of schedule after a broken leg, qualified 0.578sec behind his Fiat Yamaha team-mate, pole sitter and world championship leader Jorge Lorenzo.

Seventh on Friday, Rossi was up to third in Saturday morning practice, but admitted that two one-hour track sessions in one day were tougher to take and doesn't think he has the speed for a podium on Sunday.

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"I am really happy after this second day because I feel confident on the bike," began the 31-year-old. "I have suffered more today because we've had two sessions instead of one and I have some pain and I'm more tired than yesterday, but I feel good and my movement is okay. Also the shoulder feels fine so it's definitely a positive return for me.

"Unfortunately today at the end we tried a small modification to improve the setting but it made it worse, so I think we lost one position for this. I don't think the front row was possible because Lorenzo, Stoner and Pedrosa went under 1'22 and I don't think I could have done that today.

"For tomorrow of course there is a question mark but I hope to be able to finish; I think the podium will be difficult for me but top five would be a very good result," he concluded.

"A very good session; if we'd known two days ago we would be qualifying in fifth we would have been very happy," added team manager Davide Brivio. "Things are going well with Valentino's condition and so as a result we're feeling more and more competitive as time goes on!"