Fabio Quartararo says he felt as if he was riding a Moto3 bike and pole man Marc Marquez was on a MotoGP bike in the damp Czech Grand Prix qualifying.
Honda rider Marquez stormed to his 58th career premier class pole by 2.5 seconds after being the first rider to gamble on slick tyres on the drying track.
Quartararo eventually joined Marquez in ditching the wet tyres, but was unable to advance on 10th - ending up with his worst qualifying result since the French Grand Prix.
The Petronas SRT rider says he is at a loss to explain how Marquez was able to go quickly straight away in Q2, and admits he felt like a "rookie" in the conditions.
When asked how he found qualifying, Quartararo said: "Really difficult. It was like I was on a Moto3 [bike] and [Marquez] was on a MotoGP [bike].
"So I was on my out lap and I really couldn't get the [comfortable] feeling. Petrucci was in front of me and [he] was exactly the same.
"I was catching him a little bit in braking, he was pulling away a little bit on the corners, but in the end we stayed together and when Marc overtook us, I didn't know [how] he could go so fast in these conditions.
"He has a lot of experience, for sure, but it's a day like today that we feel that we are rookies and we need more experience."
Quartararo continued to heap praise on Marquez, as he added: "When you are braking into the corners and you want to go fast, the bike is not turning - it goes straight.
"So when I saw Marc going really fast in these kinds of corners, I was like 'wow, he is really impressive', and you see why he is a seven-time world champion [across all classes]."
Saturday's weather-affected sessions meant no race preparation could be done ahead of what is forecast to be a dry race on Sunday.
Quartararo missed out on a chance to test the softer tyres to try and emulate the fast run on that compound that was completed by works Yamaha rider Maverick Vinales in FP2 on Friday.
"Normally today we would try a lot of things: tyres, settings, electronics," he said.
"Really, we didn't get anything. So, tomorrow morning [ahead of the race] we will have a lot of things to try, a tyre to choose.
"So we know it will be tough [race], but I'm feeling good to fight for a good race.
"Unfortunately 20 [minutes in the warm-up] will be really short [to test anything] - 20 minutes here is less than 10 laps.
"So it really will not be easy to make conclusions after the warm-up. But we will make something, we will try to get the best with a little bit of luck tomorrow."