Valentino Rossi finished Friday practice for the German MotoGP in fifth place but just 0.365s from the top.
However the Yamaha star believes he will need to make further improvements with the set-up of his M1 to fight for a second victory in a row.
“I'm quite happy because I'm quite fast, my pace is not so bad and we are not far from the top. But we have to improve,” said Rossi.
“We have some areas where I'm not so confident. We tried some modifications but I didn't improve. I'm happy with the setting, but if we want to fight for victory we have to make another step.
“It looks like when the track has more temperature it gives us more problems, especially after 10-15 laps. It is difficult for us to use the hard tyre, but with the soft tyre the bike starts to move a lot.
“Anyway we are not so far away. Five or six riders have good pace so it will be interesting tomorrow.”
One of the riders ahead of Rossi on the timesheet will not be present on Sunday. Team-mate and reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo re-damaged his freshly plated collarbone and will return to Barcelona for surgery.
“Jorge did something magic at Assen, but to crash again today on the same shoulder is very bad,” said Rossi. “I hope that the metal plate does not have a big problem and that he comes back as soon as possible.”
Seven time champion Rossi took his first win since 2010 at Assen.
Be there! CLICK HERE to see ticket prices for the remaining rounds of the 2013 MotoGP World Championship from the Official MotoGP Ticket Store.