Valentino Rossi has emphasised the importance of making the correct tyre choice at Catalunya after the Movistar Yamaha rider finished fifth fastest overall on Friday.

The Italian led FP1 before dropping to 11th in the afternoon session, but his time of 1m 39.456s set in FP1 was good enough to leave him inside the top six on the combined results.

Rossi said: “I did a good lap time already this morning and to stay in the first position even for one practice is always a good feeling.

“In the afternoon I tried to concentrate more on the tyres because here, maybe more than other times, you have to do the right choice because with the three rear tyres and also in the front, you have something good, something bad from one tyre to the other.

“So I think the tyre choice will be very important and we need to understand the tyre that can give you a little bit more. We try, but we still don’t understand very much and we need to do more kilometres, and we also have a lot of work to do.”

Rossi, who is second in the championship – 23 points behind Marc Marquez – was feeling positive with the M1 following the first day at the Spanish circuit, although he highlighted the need for improvement with only 0.8s covering the top ten.

“In general, the feeling for Friday is positive and in the end I am in the P5, which is not so bad. Also about the pace, I am quite good but we have a lot of different riders and different bikes with a good pace and I think that we are all very close. We still need to improve but the first impression is positive,” Rossi said.

“For me, first of all the track this morning was quite bad and I don’t expect – I expect better conditions. After, it was coming better and as always in the afternoon with more temperature it is more difficult, more tricky with the rear.

“I think this afternoon we were quite lucky because we don’t have the sun so the temperature of the asphalt was quite hot, but nothing crazy. I like the track, it is very good to ride with the new asphalt because the grip is good and also you have a lot less bumps,” he added.

“The new layout is a lot better for sure but as always we are all very close, so it depends very much the work from practice by practice and also for the tyre choice.”

The Doctor was troubled by some understeer in the slower corners but said choosing the correct tyre was key to the set-up of the Yamaha ahead of Sunday’s race.

“We have a bit of understeer, especially in the slow corners, but especially you have to find the right balance for the tyres and you have to learn more or less which tyre you will use and after when you decide then you will have to modify the balance of the bike, more on the front or more on the rear,” he said.

“It depends on which rubber you will use so you have to find the right balance but also correlate it with the tyre choice.

“I’m able to be a bit faster already than in the test but the feeling is very similar. We start very much from that base and apart from the odd lap my pace is very similar so it was a really good test. We now that we have to improve for sure in some areas but more or less the feeling is similar.”