Last year's Dutch MotoGP winner Valentino Rossi has set himself a target of finishing inside the top five during final qualifying at Assen on Friday.

The Movistar Yamaha rider was seventh fastest in free practice, 0.633s behind Forward Yamaha's Aleix Espargaro.

Rossi said: "I'm just in seventh place but I'm quite satisfied first of all because the lap time is very fast. We are a lot faster than last year. But especially in the last exit we modified the bike because we were struggling with the rear grip and I was able to improve my lap time, which is positive.

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"We have to continue to work a lot because unfortunately after three or four laps the rear temperature raises too much, the rear starts to move a lot and we have to slow the rhythm. For tomorrow this is the target, to improve the bike, especially the rear to use the tyres and get ready for qualifying so we can start in the top five.

"We have to wait about the weather also. Today was fantastic but in Assen you never know."

Rossi added that he will not continue with the new exhaust.

"We tried the exhaust in the tests at Barcelona and Aragon. Yamaha tried to make a better engine character and power delivery from the bottom. It is not so bad, but I think we lose something at the top. But the problem for me is that it is very difficult to ride with two different pipes in practice. So because I only have one set I think that tomorrow I will use the standard exhausts, because I need two bikes the same."

Rossi - who has finished runner-up to Marc Marquez four times this season, plus a third in Italy - was also asked if he would swap his podiums for one victory.

"Difficult.. no! Because I hope to do more than ten podiums before the end of the season and ten podiums for one win is too much!"