MotoGP World Championship leader Valentino Rossi said his front row start at Misano was critical to boost his prospects of challenging for victory in front of his partisan fans.

Rossi clinched the clinched the final place on the front row with a lap of 1m 32.358s at the Marco Simoncelli Circuit, which left him trailing his Movistar Yamaha team-mate and pole man Jorge Lorenzo by 0.212 seconds.

Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez is the meat in the Yamaha sandwich on row one and Rossi was relieved to make it into the top three at the expense of Dani Pedrosa, who heads up the second row.

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"As always, it is very important to start from the front row because usually at the beginning of the race Jorge is always very strong, especially when he has this pace like in this weekend," said Rossi, who won in San Marino last season.

"For sure he will push from the first corner very strong and usually also Marc is able to stay with him, so it is crucial to try to stay with them in the first laps.

"After, you can see what happens if you are close, but if you are really far it is already finished so it's good to be on the front row and it's good to be in front of Dani," added the 36-year-old.

"Also, Dani has a very good pace this weekend and it's also very important between now and the race tomorrow because we have some more time to work a bit on the bike and try to improve."

Rossi managed to improve the set-up with his YZR-M1 in final qualifying and is hopeful of making further progress with the bike during morning warm-up.

"Today was for me a good day because we improved the setting and we improved the pace and I hope that we can do something better for tomorrow," added Rossi, who holds a lead of 12 points over Lorenzo in the championship standings following his victory in the rain at Silverstone.

"It's like this: the start is very important but it's not enough because already from the first corner Jorge and Marc are able to give the maximum and the race will be very long.

"Twenty eight laps are very long for the rider, the bikes and for the tyres but the first three or four laps will be very important for the result."