Valentino Rossi admitted that “nothing really worked well” with his set-up after he could only manage a third-row grid slot for the Australian Grand Prix.
As title rival and Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo secured a spot on the front row at Phillip Island, Rossi struggled for pace, ending up seven tenths adrift of poleman Marc Marquez in seventh place.
Though Rossi was able to bounce back from a lacklustre showing in practice last weekend at Motegi, the seven-time premier class champion pinned the blame for his woes this time around on a failure to find a set-up that worked on his works M1.
“For us, today was difficult because we tried to find some solutions to be stronger, but nothing worked really well,” said Rossi.
“I’m constant and my pace is not so bad, but I’m not fast enough.
“We had a difficult qualifying and I have to start from the third row, which will be hard tomorrow. We need to find a way to be a little bit more competitive.”
Rossi nonetheless struck an optimistic tone that he could still salvage a strong result at a circuit where he has excelled in the past.
“Fortunately we have the warm-up when we can work in the bike and try to do better,” he added.
"After that everything depends on the start, the first laps and the pace.
“This is a good track, very wide, so if you have the pace you can recover.”