Valentino Rossi will start day two of the Australian MotoGP from just 20th position on the Phillip Island timesheets.
The Italian superstar was demoted from second to second-last in FP1 after exceeding the 10-lap limit Michelin placed on the extra-soft front wet tyre.
The reason for the confusion was that Rossi and his Yamaha team believed the limit referred to ten flying laps, and not his out- and in-laps.
"I did a very good lap time, but unfortunately they cancelled my lap time," Rossi said. "I wanted to use the super-soft in the front because I know that tyre and think it is a good tyre for today because it is only ten degrees.
"They say to me, 'you have to do maximum ten laps'. And I did nine laps. The problem is that they count also the out-lap and in-lap, so it became eleven and they f**k all my run. Now I am second last."
Michelin's Nicolas Goubert stated: "[Rossi] made a mistake. Like Marc made a mistake here three years ago here. It's easy [to do]."
The mistake would have been of little consequence had the wet weather not got even worse, causing the delayed afternoon session to be cancelled after 13 minutes.
Rossi was among the six riders to venture out, but it was impossible to improve on his 20th place morning time (set after the cancelled run).
That means Rossi must now hope for better conditions in the Saturday morning session, in order to claim the top ten place needed for direct transfer into Qualifying 2.
FP3 will be extended by 15-minutes to partially compensate for the lost Friday track time.
"In the afternoon it was completely useless. Is a shame because [20th] can be bad for tomorrow morning; if I cannot improve my lap time I have to do Qualifying 1," Rossi confirmed. "So we hope that the weather is a bit better, also because like this we are really in the conditions to not use the bikes."
Returning to the lap-limit, Rossi admitted to being confused by the need to restrict track time on the extra-soft front.
"For me is very strange, because it would be a good tyre for the [wet] race. But Michelin is worried because in Brno this tyre had a problem. But in Brno it was 25-degrees on the ground and coming dry.
"Here is the place for the super soft. If it's not here, you never use it. In fact I did my run, very good, I stopped with a good lap time and you look at the tyre - is new. So for me is also dangerous to go with the soft [rather than extra-soft]."
If, as is currently forecast, the weather steadily improves between now and the race, riders could line-up on the grid with barely any dry time.
"The forecasts say tomorrow is coming better but dry and cold. Maybe for the race can be dry. So if you never use these tyres on the dry and have to start for the race, it's a lottery for everybody."
Rossi is 14 points ahead of team-mate Jorge Lorenzo in their battle for second in the world championship. Lorenzo was only 19th quickest on Friday.
By Peter McLaren