MotoGP championship leader Valentino Rossi was left an equal season-worst eighth on the grid for Sunday's Indianapolis Grand Prix.

The Italian was 0.627s slower than Honda pole holder Marc Marquez, while Movistar Yamaha team-mate and title rival Jorge Lorenzo claimed third on the grid.

"Yesterday I was very slow and a bit worried, and we didn't start with a good base setting. Today the situation has improved, especially my pace is not so bad," Rossi said.

Related Articles

"In FP4 I was in fourth position and I raised my level and my potential a lot and also the life of the tyre is longer, but unfortunately in qualifying I wasn't strong enough to start from the second row.

"I hit traffic, made mistakes and I have to start from the third row. This is a big problem because I'm not very fast here and we still have some problems with the bike that we have to improve, we have to make a step for tomorrow.

"I think fighting for the podium tomorrow will be hard, because Marc and Jorge are very strong, but at this track like at Sachsenring also Dani is very fast, so it will be difficult."

Rossi had been fourth fastest - behind Marquez, Lorenzo and Pedrosa - during final practice, the session dedicated to race pace.

Rossi starts Sunday's race 13 points ahead of Lorenzo and 65 points clear of Marquez.