Valentino Rossi is seeking overnight progress ahead of what looks like being a home showdown with Casey Stoner at Misano on Sunday.

Stoner, who has made costly mistakes whilst racing with Rossi at the last two rounds, overcame a re-opened wrist fracture to take his seventh pole in a row by a substantial 0.510secs from Rossi in qualifying for the San Marino Grand Prix.

"I'm happy about our work because we did a good job with the qualifying tyres this afternoon and we were able to improve with each one, which is important," said Rossi. "In the end we couldn't match Casey's time but anyway second on the grid is good for the race."

The last two rounds have seen the Fiat Yamaha rider bridge similar performance deficits to Stoner, although Rossi - seeking a record-equalling 68th premier-class win on Sunday, at a track just 15km from his home in Tavullia - feels more improvements to his M1 are needed in time for Sunday's race.

"Our race set-up is still not perfect and there are some corners where we need to be faster still, so we have to work to try to improve that tonight," said Rossi, currently 50 points clear of Ducati's reigning world champion. "We have a lot of data now from the two days and so we will use this to try to come up with something to try in warm-up tomorrow. I think we can definitely still improve our race setting a little bit more."

Tomorrow will be the sixth time that Rossi and Stoner have shared the front row this season, with the Italian having come out on top in three out of the previous five occasions.

"As always the front row is our target so we're happy that we've reached that, it will be very important for tomorrow's battle!" declared team manager Davide Brivio. "We still need to look for some tenths around the lap so we need to do some more work and then use the practice tomorrow morning as best we can; hopefully we can find something which can help us to fight with Casey once again. It's really good to see the other Yamaha's back in the hunt again and it looks like it could be a great race tomorrow."

Rossi's Michelin-shod team-mate Jorge Lorenzo will start third on the grid.


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