Fastest in morning practice, last year's Assen MotoGP winner Valentino Rossi will start this Saturday's race from just twelfth on the grid.

The Italian superstar was caught out by a rain shower at the start of Qualifying 2, failing to set a competitive time before track conditions worsened, resulting in his lowest grid position since leaving Ducati at the end of 2012.

"Unfortunately I was a bit unlucky in qualifying," began the Movistar Yamaha rider, speaking in the team's hospitality as rain continued to fall at Assen on Friday evening.

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"We [the riders] were all together but there was a lot of confusion, so I slowed down a little bit to have some space. I pushed on the next lap and was quite fast, but when I arrived at the second part of the track it was already starting to rain quite heavily, so I had to slow down.

"I have to start from the fourth row. It is a big shame because today I was fast from this morning. We modified the setting and improved the rear of the bike that moved too much yesterday. Today I felt a lot better and especially this afternoon because before qualifying [in FP4] I was fast, had a good pace and finished second to Marquez.

"I thought I could fight for a good place on the grid but unfortunately the rain arrived at the wrong moment. It is a shame also because tomorrow will be a lot more difficult."

While team-mate Jorge Lorenzo also suffered in the conditions and will line-up ninth on the grid, the Repsol Hondas of Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa will start from second and third behind debut pole sitter Aleix Espargaro.

"Jorge is just in front of me, on the third row, but the big problem will be the Hondas of Marquez - especially - and also Pedrosa on the first row," Rossi confirmed.

"It will be hard but we have to wait because in Assen anything can happen, especially about the weather. I would prefer a dry race because I know I can be competitive in the dry. But if it's wet it might be a bit more easy to recover.

"If it's wet for the race, I hope the warm-up will be wet as well. Let's wait and see."

Rossi is second in the world championship, but 58 points behind reigning title holder Marquez, who is yet to be beaten in a race this year.