Valentino Rossi said he is happy to be half-a-second shy of practice leader Marc Marquez following the first day of action at the Indianapolis MotoGP.

The Italian, who has moved himself onto the cusp of the title battle having reached the podium in each of the last three races, spent Friday at the 'Brickyard' trialling two different Yamahas in an effort to improve the braking and handling of the machines.

Having now decided which set-up direction to pursue ahead of qualifying, Rossi was pleased to be in contention with fellow Yamaha riders Jorge Lorenzo and Cal Crutchlow on the Honda-dominated timesheets.

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Rossi said: "I'm not very happy about the sixth position. But anyway, I'm quite happy about my lap time, about the performance, especially because are very close. I reduced the gap with Marquez compared to this morning. I'm not too far, but I have too many points on the track - especially the last section - where I'm not very good.

"Today we had a good plan. We worked on two different bikes to try to understand which one is the best. After practice this afternoon, we decided the way to go, so tomorrow we have to work on that base.

"We decided to use the setting that helped me a bit more in that area, but it remained difficult. In acceleration we improved the bike, but braking on entry we still have some problems.

"We have the potential for improvement in some places. But I think six or seven people are very, very close. ... All is not decided yet. We need to understand which team is working in the best way tomorrow to improve the bike. All is open."

Asked about the early Honda advantage, Rossi replied: "They are able to make the corners in a shorter time compared to us, especially the tight corners. I think this is the main difference."