By Neil Morrison

Valentino Rossi came within 0.19secs of a front row start for the Japanese MotoGP at Motegi, start but felt starting from fifth position "is not so bad."

Rossi had started the sole Saturday session strongly, rarely placing outside the top five throughout the revised 75-minute format - but the Italian found it difficult to improve upon his time as the track dried.

Related Articles

Rossi hasn't won at Motegi since 2008, when he clinched his eighth World Championship and believes Sunday's extended morning warm-up session will be essential to find a suitable race set-up.

"The result is not so bad, I hoped to arrive on the front row, I'm not so far but I am behind," he said.

"I was in a better shape when it was full wet and felt better with the bike. When there was less water on the track and some places were quite dry I was able to improve my time a little but not enough for the front row."

Sun finally arrived at the remote Motegi circuit on Saturday evening and Sunday could mean a step into the unknown in the form of a dry race.

"Tomorrow will be a surprise because if it is dry we will have to make the best set up in the morning warm up and try to arrive competitively for the race!"

Rossi is fourth in the world championship.