Valentino Rossi says it is crucial to expect the unexpected in Sunday's Qatar MotoGP.

Rossi qualified on the fourth row in tenth position on the Movistar Yamaha and half-a-second down on pole-sitter and reigning world champion Marc Marquez.

However, the Italian star feels there is little to choose between the riders forming the top ten, with Marquez perhaps the exception.

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"Tomorrow we have to be ready for anything as anything could happen. The pace is very similar between everyone except Marquez who was impressive and did a good job," said Rossi.

"Also the other guys, [Dani] Pedrosa and [Jorge] Lorenzo are not very far, so we have to be ready for anything and maybe some strong first laps I think.

"I'm not very satisfied because I am just in tenth but I am only half a second from pole position and my lap time is not so bad. I have improved a lot," he added.

"We worked well on the bike and in the end 1m 55.0s is not so bad, it's seven tenths faster than last year for me so we made a good step. The problem is that the balance between everybody is very close; we are 12 riders within half a second."