Having struggled throughout practice, Valentino Rossi was languishing outside the top ten with just a few minutes of qualifying to go at Valencia, when he suddenly put in two quick laps and claimed fourth on the grid for his final Yamaha race.
"It was a difficult day but luckily we were able to improve the setting right at the end of the session, giving me a bit more grip and allowing me to push for a fast time at the end. We're fourth and considering how the practices have been this really isn't too bad," admitted the seven time MotoGP champion.
"We will have to see tomorrow, it's going to be very hard and we're still in a bit of trouble, while the others are very fast, but if we can improve a bit more then we can try to challenge.
"It's not particularly difficult to overtake at this race so the second row isn't a big problem if we have a good pace. Stoner is very fast here, it looked like he was in a different sport today, but it's my last race for Yamaha and I will do everything I can to be on the podium."
Rossi's crew will now work hard to try and improve his M1 in morning warm-up.
"This morning we tried some different geometries and settings and then in the afternoon we continued in just one way, but it's clear that we still have some work to do and we have some problems with grip," said team manager Davide Brivio.
"In the end we stopped a little bit early to consider the situation, and now we will look closely at the data to find the right way forward for tomorrow so that we can give Valentino a bike to allow him to ride how he wants here."