Valentino Rossi left himself on the back foot as practice got underway at Jerez in Spain on Friday after the MotoGP World Championship leader ended the day in ninth place, having persevered with the harder option rear tyre.

Rossi's best lap of 1m 39.782s set in FP1 on the Movistar Yamaha was 0.698s behind team-mate Jorge Lorenzo as he finished the morning session sixth fastest before slipping down the times in FP2 to 13th place.

"It was a difficult practice, especially this afternoon. I think I could have gotten a better position but I decided to use just the harder option and work with just that tyre, because we thought that was the best tyre for the race," said Rossi.

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"Unfortunately the performance is very low and the lap time isn't good enough, so I think that also the soft can be an option too, but it will be difficult.

"With the high temperature in the afternoon the track makes you slide a lot and it's very difficult to control the bike. We had a lot of troubles in acceleration, because we suffer from wheel spin and the bike isn't stable," added the nine-time world champion.

"We are not good with the setting yet, so we have to try and improve for tomorrow morning. We have a lot of things to do; a different balance of the bike, different tyres and other options."

Rossi used the hardest rear tyre available to great effect last time in Argentina, hunting down race leader Marc Marquez before a dramatic clash on the penultimate lap left the Honda rider on the ground.

With two wins from three races, Rossi is six points clear of Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) at the head of the standings and 30 points in front of Marquez. Dovizioso was fifth on Friday while Marquez, riding with an injured finger after a recent dirt track accident, was third.

"Marc was fast at the beginning. At first I thought he had the soft but I'm not sure. If he had the hard his pace is very fast. If the soft it is more close."

Rossi, chasing a record 200th grand prix podium this weekend, has claimed his last three race wins from just eighth on the grid.

"I've won from eighth, but sincerely I hope to start better. The target will be at least the second row."

Rossi also responded to the news that Lorenzo is confirmed alongside him for 2016: "I'm happy Jorge remains with Yamaha because we have a good relationship, especially to improve the bike."