Valentino Rossi blamed a lack of pace on the softer tire after missing out on a front row slot in Malaysian Grand Prix qualifying.
The Yamaha rider had been fastest in Friday practice, but could not get involved in the pole battle today and qualified back in sixth. He is set to be deposed as MotoGP champion if his teammate Jorge Lorenzo gets the handful of points he requires tomorrow to put the championship beyond his rivals' reach.
"With the hard tire we're not so bad, even if we're lacking some grip and the bike is moving a bit, so it's not so easy to control," said Rossi. "However, with the softer tire, we suffered a lot more because the movement became bigger and I couldn't use the extra grip. This means I am only on the second row."
Despite being happier with the harder Bridgestone, Rossi thinks it will be tough to make forward progress in the race.
"Tomorrow's race will be very hard, maybe the hardest of the season because the temperature is unbelievable and starting from the second row will make it even harder, but we will do our best and hope to make a good start," he said.