Valentino Rossi expects tomorrow's French Grand Prix to see a huge battle between the four title contenders after the very close fight in qualifying today.
Championship leader Rossi only managed fourth on the grid, but was little more than a tenth slower than pole-winner Dani Pedrosa. Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner completed the front row, with all three lapping within 0.070 seconds of each other.
"In the end I will unfortunately have to start from the second row, it would have been better from the front, but we are all bunched up together," Rossi told Italia1
television. "I'm just 1.5 tenths from pole. So it will be a difficult race because all four of us have the pace to try to win.
"Maybe it will be an enjoyable race for us: it will be a big fight. This track has always been like that: the gaps have always been small, at least in qualifying. We'll have to see in the race."
The Italian said his Yamaha was performing better in qualifying after lacking pace in the two practice sessions.
"It's gone a lot better than yesterday and this morning, when we had some problems," Rossi said. "But fortunately we understood what caused them. This afternoon it was a much more positive session."
With the rain that blighted practice having cleared in time for qualifying, Rossi now hopes that the race can take place on a dry track too - despite forecasts to the contrary.
"Let's hope they are wrong tomorrow too, and that we can race in the dry," he said. "If it rains, let's hope we can get some [wet] laps in the warm-up, because we've more or less always run in the dry, so we'll have to see. If it rains it will be a big lottery."