Valentino Rossi will start third on the grid for Sunday's Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril, following the cancellation of qualifying due to torrential rain, prompting the use of free practice times to decide grid order.

Rossi had been second fastest in the Saturday morning practice, behind his Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, but Friday afternoon's session (also wet) had seen quicker overall lap times.

Rossi therefore starts behind team-mate and pole sitter Jorge Lorenzo and Ducati's Nicky Hayden.

"It's a real disappointment about today because we had some things we wanted to try, but in the end the rain was just too much and it was too dangerous. It really was impossible to ride this afternoon!" said Rossi.

"In the wet I have a good setting, even if we could have improved a bit this afternoon, but I am happy about the balance of my bike. Now we just have to wait for the conditions tomorrow. We are prepared for the wet; if it's dry it could be interesting!

"If it's dry from the morning and it's possible to have the warm-up in the dry then it will be okay to have a dry race, but if warm-up is wet and then the race is dry....honestly it's better not like this! We will just have to wait and see and at least we're on the front row."

"If the race is wet we are prepared, if it's dry it's going to be a big gamble," confirmed team manager Davide Brivio.