No lower than fifth during free practice, Valentino Rossi sunk to seventh in qualifying for Sunday's Czech Republic MotoGP at Brno.
Like Factory Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, Rossi was unable to make full use of new tyres in the short pole shootout, setting a fastest lap 0.659s behind satellite M1 rider Cal Crutchlow.
“At the end I'm not so happy because seventh position is my worst position of the weekend and it was in qualifying,” said Rossi, who took the first of his 106 grand prix wins at Brno in 1996.
“I improved my lap time, but the other guys were faster. My target was to start in the first five, but unfortunately I have to start from seventh on the third row.
“Anyway, I have a good pace and was always with the front guys in the free practices. Now we have to make some changes to the bike, we have been competitive all weekend so I think and I hope we can be competitive also during the race.
“Yesterday the harder tyre we used was good, but today it was no good, maybe because it was ten degrees less, so I think we will use the soft tyre tomorrow,” he added.
But slick tyre choice could become irrelevant if the forecast rain arrives for the race.
“Qualifying didn't go quite as we wanted, but we have a good package and the race pace is very competitive for both Jorge and Vale,” said Yamaha team director Massimo Meregalli. “Unfortunately the weather forecast is not good for tomorrow so maybe the work we have done so far will have to change direction to give us a good rain set up.”
Lorenzo will start from fifth place.