After a 'big disaster' on day one at the French MotoGP, Valentino Rossi rose up the order on Saturday and now feels ready to fight in the Le Mans race.
Just tenth quickest on Friday, Rossi ran a consistently high pace on Saturday and went on to qualify fifth on the grid. The Italian was 0.8s behind runaway pole setter Marc Marquez, but only 0.150s from second place Pol Espargaro and ahead of key rivals Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo.
“I'm quite happy, especially after yesterday which was a big disaster,” said the Movistar Yamaha rider. “I wasn't able to ride the bike in a good way then, but today with my team we improved the setting a lot and I'm satisfied today.
“I'm always fast; I have a good pace and a good setting so I like to ride the bike. In the qualifying I had the potential to be on the front row but at the end it's ok like this.
“I'm in fifth ahead of Lorenzo and Pedrosa and I think tomorrow they will be the great rivals. Marquez is also very fast, but I can fight I think!”
Rossi is currently third in the world championship, behind the Hondas of Marquez and Pedrosa. Pedrosa qualified just ninth, while Rossi's team-mate Lorenzo will start from sixth.
"Fifth and sixth isn't a reflection of our speed, the pace we have shown during the practices for both riders is actually more positive than it looks from the qualifying results," stated Yamaha team director Massimo Meregalli.
"Our bike is well set up for the track and the race so we have some confidence for tomorrow. For sure we will be there and competitive at the front, both Jorge and Vale are very capable of fighting for the podium.
"We will look to make another step before warm up tomorrow to have the best possible set up for the race. It's going to be long and tough over 28 laps. It's a very technical circuit with no time to rest so it should be an exciting one to watch."