Dani Pedrosa conceded the current uncertainty surrounding his plans for 2019 may be affecting his performance “a little bit” after the three-time world champion was a below-par 18th in MotoGP qualifying at Assen.

Four weeks on from his worst Saturday showing (20th) in his 13 years as a MotoGP rider at Mugello, Pedrosa was close to anonymous in the Q1 qualifying shootout that precedes Q2. Surprisingly at no point in the 15 minutes did it appear he would challenge the top two places.

Rear grip has been an issue for the Catalan in recent outings, and his struggles continued apace here. On Friday he noted how he was losing a lot of time through Assen’s fast final sector. A day later and he admitted he was losing even more in sectors two and three.

“When you don’t have the feeling and you are missing more, you are completely off,” he said, referencing the closeness of the field in all of Saturday’s MotoGP sessions.

On the Monday after the Italian Grand Prix, it was confirmed Pedrosa’s 13-year stint in the Repsol Honda squad would come to a close this November.

While a possibility of him signing for the new Petronas-backed satellite Yamaha squad for 2019 remains, it appears the situation is also affecting the 32-year old’s performance.

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“Well for sure it is a little bit playing, because when you think too much, you think too much,” he said. “To ride this bike, you need not to think, more or less, so you need to have a free feeling and go, if you are over-thinking – it can be this or it can be another aspect in your life – always affects a little bit your riding for sure.”

On the day as a whole, Pedrosa said, “I struggled a lot today, basically not made the Q2 and then struggled in Q1 and FP4 especially. This afternoon I couldn’t really find the pace I need and I could see unbelievably the lap times how close they were, especially in Q2. Lorenzo was first and then in one pass he was 10th and his lap time was already the fastest of the weekend.

“What I mean is of course if you are not feeling well and you miss one or two tenths, you already can be tenth, so when you don’t have the feeling and you are missing more, you are completely off.

“Difficult for tomorrow starting from this position but we are working now to trying to understand what is the tyre to choose tomorrow – still a chance of soft and hard is open and also a little bit on the right setting.

“But for sure the big part of the weekend is done, which is starting from that position, the first sector is very tight and very small so it’s a bit complicated to make a gain. But we have to take it calm and not to make the same mistake as in Mugello and try to do the race the best we can.”

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