Movistar Yamaha's Valentino Rossi is aiming to improve his qualifying pace this weekend at Assen as he bids to maintain his lead in the MotoGP World Championship.
His team-mate Jorge Lorenzo's run of four straight wins has saw Rossi's advantage slashed to only a single point ahead of the eighth round of the series at the Dutch TT.
Rossi finished as the runner-up to Lorenzo at Catalunya in the previous race but any realistic chance he had of fighting for victory was thwarted after he qualified on row three, conceding vital ground to Lorenzo in the early stages of the race.
“A little bit too much!” said Rossi, when reminded of Lorenzo's red-hot form at the pre-race press conference.
“He is very strong in the last four races and has been in the first position from the first lap until the last. To try to fight with Jorge I need to make a step and stay concentrated from tomorrow on.
“Jorge is better than me in the qualifying – he is always a little bit faster. Now it is difficult because there are a lot of different bikes that are very fast and the Suzuki and the Ducati have also the extra soft but at the same time Jorge has the time tyre and the same bike as me so I need to be a little bit better,” Rossi added.
“Starting from the third row is difficult and in Barcelona I have a good pace, but I lost a lot of time to arrive in second place and already Jorge was far.
“We have to improve but every week is a different track and a different story and we need to understand the potential of the bike and the way that the tyre works on the weekend, so we need to make the maximum from tomorrow on.”
The Doctor boasts a stunning record at The Cathedral, winning six premier class races since 2002 and admits the historic circuit holds special appeal on the MotoGP calendar.
“Assen is a great track and it is special because it is the oldest track in the calendar,” said Rossi, who is set to try a new chassis on Thursday specifically aimed at improving corner entry.
“I had the chance also to race on the older track, which was fantastic. From 2006 the track has been modified a lot but it is great because it is very fast and you never go straight – you are always on the bank to the left or right and it is quite different compared to the normal tracks.
“I like this place but for sure it is always difficult with the weather because it can change a lot of times during the day and week.
" I have a lot of good memories and good victories and I am arriving in a good moment, so we will see.”