Valentino Rossi aims to mark his 300th premier-class grand prix with a rostrum finish in Sunday's British MotoGP.

"300 is a great number. It is important try to arrive on the podium tomorrow for this race."

The Italian was speaking after qualifying a close second to world champion Marc Marquez at Silverstone.

The Movistar Yamaha rider lost out on what would have been a first pole of the season by just 0.084s, during the final sector of the lap.

"We always suffer in sector four," he explained. "We spin very much and is difficult to bring the right speed.

"But anyway, it was a good lap. I enjoy a lot. I improve by 0.8s my personal best lap here in Silverstone. A 2m 0.025 is fantastic. Sincerely, was a surprise because I was a little bit in trouble. "

Despite making a rare appearance towards the sharp end of the Friday practice timesheets, Rossi - like fellow front row starter Cal Crutchlow - found track conditions less favourable following overnight rain.

The Doctor was only eleventh quickest in Saturday morning practice, then ninth in FP4, before returning to the front with the soft rear tyre in qualifying.

"We started yesterday from a good level, but unfortunately we weren’t able to make it better. The feeling with the bike, with the track, is a little bit worse compared to yesterday," he said. "So, we hope that from today to tomorrow the weather remains good.

"Now we have to try to understand if we are able to improve, especially the tyre life, because - like happens a lot this year - at the beginning we are not so bad, but after we suffer a lot of tyre degradation.

"So the second part of the race will be very, very hard.

"If everything is fantastic, we can fight for the podium tomorrow, but maybe for the last spot…"

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rookie Johann Zarco has again been competitive this weekend, with both Rossi and team-mate Maverick Vinales (fourth on grid) confirming they check the data of both Tech 3 riders.

"Sometimes I check because I enjoy a lot to try to understand, but for the tyre choice is very difficult because Zarco is very different in the weight, in the length, in the riding style," Rossi said. "Sometimes more with Folger. When Folger is fast we can check more because is more similar riding style. But at the end, the tyres are very, very personal. It's what you feel."

Rossi, who starts Sunday's race trailing Marquez by 33-points in the world championship, added: "It's difficult for the championship, so better to think about the race."


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