Valentino Rossi will start Sunday's German MotoGP from sixth on the grid after declaring there was 'something wrong' with his second new tyre in qualifying.

"Fortunately I did quite a good lap with the first tyre," said Rossi, who inked a new two-year Yamaha contract earlier this week.

"Usually you can go faster with the second tyre by two or three tenths, but there was something wrong with the second tyre. It didn't have any grip and it was also very difficult to get the bike back to the pit box. There was something wrong, so unfortunately I couldn't push.

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"Anyway I'm on the second row and the second row is the limit for a good race. Today we worked well on the bike, we're not so bad, but for tomorrow it will be hard. The three Hondas are very fast so we have to improve.

Rossi added: "This is a Honda track for three or four seasons. In 2012 I remember Pedrosa and Stoner were 10 seconds in front of Jorge because there are tight corners with acceleration from slow speed. And there are two-third hard braking, especially at turn one, where the Honda is better than us.

"For us it is a difficult track. It is flowing but maybe a bit too tight for the M1. We are not so far away and I am close on the rhythm. For me Marquez is faster but I am close to Dani and today me and Jorge have the same speed."

Team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, who will start from fifth position, described a similar tyre problem in qualifying.

Yamaha team manager Massimo Meregalli confirmed: "Unfortunately we weren't able to improve on the lap time in qualifying with the second tyre as for some reason the grip provided by it was not at the same level as the first, making it almost impossible for the riders to improve."

Rossi heads into Sunday's race joint second with Dani Pedrosa in the world championship standings. Pedrosa qualified in second place, between Repsol Honda team-mate Marc Marquez and LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl.