Valentino Rossi reckons his lingering shoulder injury and Yamaha's straightline speed deficit are the main factors holding him back at Misano this weekend, rather than any issues with the leg he broke at Mugello.
The MotoGP champion has yet to get back up to peak performance as he continues to recover from the leg injury that ruled him out of the middle part of the season, and the shoulder damage sustained in a Motocross crash in April.
He has qualified fourth for tomorrow's San Marino Grand Prix, and said he felt in much better shape than he did in the heat of Indianapolis last weekend, but that he was still not in ideal condition.
"I feel good. For sure it's a lot easier compared to Indy because the temperature is more human," said Rossi. "I feel better with my leg – but unfortunately this racetrack is very demanding for the shoulder because there are three hard brakings [areas] to the right. So I have some pain and I lose 0.1 [second] in every braking. I hope the pain does not become any worse before the end."
Rossi believes leading qualifiers Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo will be too fast for him in the race, so his target is to fight with Casey Stoner and Ben Spies for third.
"I'm not so far away. It depends very much on which tyre the top guys will use. We will see tomorrow at two o'clock," said the Italian. "I'm not far away and I have quite a good rhythm. But in the same conditions, compared to Jorge, he's a bit faster than us – not so much but a little bit.
"I think the key of the race tomorrow will be the rear tire. If Pedrosa is able to use the soft, he will have a grip advantage, especially at the beginning. I think at this moment Lorenzo and Pedrosa are in better shape so it will be very difficult to try to beat them. For the third place on the podium, it looks like being between me, Stoner and Spies."
The four Yamahas in the field are among the bottom five in the speed trap figures this weekend, with Rossi's top speed measured 6.4mph slower than polesitter Pedrosa's.
He described the bike's straightline speed deficiency as a "bad situation" but said Pedrosa's 2.5mph advantage over the rest of the field was not just due to Honda's power, but also the Spaniard's build and the speed he was carrying through the final corners – with the Yamahas consistently losing time to Pedrosa in the last sector.
"I think that the Honda has more acceleration, and especially the weight of Dani together with the great engine of Honda, they accelerate faster from the last corner," Rossi said. "At the same time, Dani is riding very well because the turn before is a difficult corner."