After pole at Assen, MotoGP title leader Valentino Rossi will be back in the familiar positon of starting behind his main rivals in Sunday's German Grand Prix.

The Italian star, who holds a ten-point lead over Movistar Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, qualified sixth at the Sachsenring with his best lap a substantial 0.884s from pole sitter Marc Marquez.

The Repsol Honda rider - beaten by Rossi in a final turn showdown in Holland - has been in a class of his own all weekend, but a 74-point deficit to The Doctor means Marquez is currently out of the championship fight.

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Meanwhile the gap between Rossi and Lorenzo was a more manageable 0.299s, the Spaniard snaring the final front row start behind Marquez and team-mate Dani Pedrosa.

"I wanted to try to start tomorrow's race more in front, because our potential today wasn't so bad. I thought and hoped that I could do a 1'20-high, but unfortunately I made some mistakes and I couldn't do the perfect lap," said Rossi, who instead set a 1m 21.220s before a rear-wheel slide hampered his last lap.

"Apart from that, I'm on the second row and that's not so far behind and my pace is quite good. I can keep a good pace also with a used tyre, so now we have to work and try to fix some small problems and make some small improvements for tomorrow and see what happens in the race."

During final practice, the session dedicated to race pace, Marquez set 10 laps under 1min 22s, followed by seven for Pedrosa and six for Rossi.

Lorenzo only broke into the 1m 21s once in the 30-minutes, but there was less variation in his lap times and the average pace of Pedrosa, Rossi and Lorenzo looked almost identical.

"For me, the analysis of the pace is Marquez is a bit faster and after have Pedrosa," Rossi said. "So the two Hondas are very strong. But Pedrosa is very, very close to my pace, and also Jorge is there.

"So I think if the race is today we can fight for the second place with Pedrosa and Lorenzo, but maybe tomorrow things will be different."

And in terms of the championship the target is clear: "I will try to fight with Jorge, ride a good race and try to arrive in front of him and score more points."

One of the keys for Rossi will be to quickly pass the Ducatis of Yonny Hernandez and Andrea Iannone, which currently separate the two factory M1 riders.

"The start will be very important because Hernandez and Iannone are quite good in the lap but slower than us in the pace, so it will be very important in the first lap to try to stay with the top three."

All leading riders are expected to use the medium compound rear tyre and select either the medium or new asymmetric for the front, depending on the race day temperature.

"The front tyre choice for the race will be very important, because we have two choices open. We have to wait to understand also the conditions, temperature of the asphalt, but for the front I think it will be important to make the right choice."

Germany marks the midpoint of the 2015 season and the final round before the summer break.