Valentino Rossi says corner entry speed is the fundamental reason for his continued struggles on the Ducati GP12.
Rossi cast a downbeat figure after the season opener in Qatar, conceding that he could not get to grips with his 2012 bike after finishing a lowly 10th. His woes continued in a dry qualifying at Jerez, the Italian qualifying 13th, behind both satellite Ducatis and more than two seconds down on teammate Nicky Hayden, who was third.
Rossi said that, while conditions had proved tricky, the real issue remained with his turn-in feel and speed on the GP12.
"The conditions were quite difficult because it was cold and the asphalt was dry, but not completely; anyway it was like that for everyone, so that wasn't the problem," Rossi said. "Unfortunately, I'm still having a very hard time riding and entering corners, both on the brakes and off. I'm slow to achieve maximum lean angle and don't carry the necessary corner speed, so when it's time to accelerate, I've already lost too much ground.
"We've been trying to solve this situation for a while, but we haven't managed it yet."
Rossi said comparison with Hayden had pinpointed corner entry as the area responsible for his deficit.
"We have to keep working on the setup because Nicky had a nice session today and really did a good job," he added. "Comparing the data, we've confirmed that we're losing all our time on corner entry. Anyway, we went a bit better in the wet, so we'll see what conditions we have for the race."
Hayden said he and Ducati had been able to take advantage of the strange conditions on their way to the squad's first front row since Stoner's pole performance at Valencia in 2010.
"To be on the front row is really good for us," Hayden said. "The track conditions were quite strange, different compared to what we've had the whole weekend, [and]. It certainly helped that we tested here in the dry not too long ago as we had a relatively good base setup.
"In the end, we took advantage of the strange situation and made the front row, so I'm really happy for my team. Now we'll try to make it happen when it counts tomorrow."