Dani Pedrosa felt the continued after-effects of his collarbone injury were the main reason why he only qualified eighth for the MotoGP season finale at Valencia.
Last weekend at Estoril Pedrosa fell off the pace during the race as he lost sensation in one arm, and he admitted that he was still far from peak fitness in Spain. He broke the collarbone in a practice crash at Motegi a month ago.
"I would like to be a bit higher in the standings but considering my physical condition eighth is not so bad," he said.
"This is a short track and the lap times are very close, and so two tenths means two or three positions higher or lower on the grid. This is the position we have achieved and we will deal with it.
"Anyway we need to be ready for a very tough race, and it's the endurance over race distance that will be the key point - 30 laps is a lot.
"Now I will try to rest as much as possible, and tomorrow I will aim to make a great start and keep the rhythm in the race for as long as I can."
Pedrosa still managed to outqualify his team-mate Andrea Dovizioso, who felt a lack of speed at some parts of the track as costing him a lot of time as he took ninth on the grid.
"Yesterday we started well and we have improved our pace in every practice session, but this afternoon I haven't managed to use the full potential of the bike," he said.
"I'm struggling in sector three and sector four and this is affecting my lap time. More than the set-up I need to better interpret the lines I'm taking, and also to adapt my riding style. In particular I'm quite slow in two or three corners and this is what is holding me back at the moment.
"Our overall pace in the rest of the lap is not too far from the riders at the front, so if we improve in these corners I'm sure we can fight for the podium tomorrow."