Valentino Rossi chasing rear grip after Mugello MotoGP practice

Valentino Rossi will be chasing rear grip from his Yamaha when practice for MotoGP's Italian Grand Prix continues on Saturday morning at Mugello

Valentino Rossi chasing rear grip after Mugello MotoGP practice

The local hero was sixth in practice on Friday afternoon, but acknowledged that he felt behind on his programme, after the morning running was essentially lost to wet conditions.

In the morning session, Rossi completed a series of practice starts at pit exit, but did not set a time.

Rossi finished the afternoon 0.644 seconds behind Ducati's Andrea Iannone, but within two tenths of team-mate Jorge Lorenzo.

"Unfortunately this morning we had wet conditions and for going on the track it was quite useless because it was half and half, so not enough for the wet tyres but too damp for the slicks," he said.

"For the afternoon, we had quite good conditions but it was quite cold and the track didn't provide fantastic grip after yesterday's rain. But at the end of practice it was not so bad.

"Unfortunately, we are not OK with the balance - we need some more time and another practice this afternoon but we have to wait until tomorrow morning to try something different.

"But the good thing is that I'm just in the sixth position. The distance from second - because Iannone did a very good laptime - from Lorenzo and all the other guys is small.

"But at the same time the first 10 people are very close so for tomorrow we need to try and improve, especially in the second part of the track where I am not very fast."

Rossi is currently third in the championship and has largely improved his qualifying form this year.

He admits that the form of the Ducatis could make it tough to add to his list of front-row starts, if he cannot improve in the second half of the lap.

"We need to improve and improve the feeling," he said.

"I don't have enough rear grip and I have to wait too long to open the throttle and especially with the exit from the last corner, I lose too much.

"It's very, very important if I want a chance to fight at the top [in the race], I need to start in the top five.

"First row is more important, for sure. But also top five is OK."

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