Having warned of the dangers of giving team-mate and title rival Jorge Lorenzo a head start, Valentino Rossi was only tenth and almost one-second slower than the Spaniard during day one of the British MotoGP.

Rossi and Lorenzo start round twelve tied on points at the top of the championship, but with Lorenzo having pulled 13 points back from the Italian in the two events since the summer break.

Lorenzo's momentum continued at Silverstone, where he finished the opening day on top of the timesheets by 0.033s from Honda's Marc Marquez, while Rossi dropped from third in the morning session to tenth in the afternoon.

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"This afternoon was a bit too difficult. I expected to be stronger," Rossi admitted. "Especially after practice this morning, which was not so bad, because we found some good improvement and my lap time was not so far from the top.

"But we suffered a lot with the degradation of the rear tyre, so we tried to work from this point of view in the afternoon, changing a little bit the setting of the bike to try to be more constant. But unfortunately we didn't find anything very good.

"We worked a lot with the engine brake because we want to improve in some area but we don't find the right way to enter faster in the corner and also the soft tyre, that is supposed to be the race tyre, is good at the beginning but after some laps I suffer a bit too much spin. This is the main problem to try to improve for the race."

Although Rossi claimed he didn't push for a lap time at the end of free practice, by finishing in the top ten he will granted direct access to Qualifying 2 if rain arrives n Saturday morning.

"I lose a lot of positions because I don't concentrate very much on the lap time, the time attack, and some other guys put the softer tyre at the end because they want to say in the top ten because of the risk of rain tomorrow morning," Rossi said.

"But we concentrate more on the pace and at the end my position is quite bad but it is not a disaster because I'm in the top ten, so if tomorrow morning have bad conditions like rain I'm anyway in Q2 that is important.

"But we have to work. For sure the performance is not fantastic but we work a lot, we try a lot of different things and we hope that we understand more or less the way to go and we'll try tomorrow to be stronger."