Valentino Rossi said he was surprised and disappointed to qualify outside the top 10 for the Indianapolis MotoGP race, having expected to be in better shape following practice.
Although qualifying pace has been a particular weakness for Rossi during his poor second season at Ducati, he had been optimistic of faring better at Indianapolis. In the event he was only 11th - behind top CRT rider Randy de Puniet, 1.9 seconds off the pole pace, and a second down on team-mate Nicky Hayden, who will miss the race following a heavy crash later in qualifying.
"It's a great pity for us, because after this morning we were optimistic," Rossi told the official MotoGP website. "We did a modification to the bike that improved my feeling. I did some good laptimes with both the hard and the soft, so we expected a better qualifying.
"Unfortunately this afternoon with the higher temperatures we suffered a lot with rear grip and I was slower compared to this morning. It's a pity I have to start further behind. But this year is very difficult, very tough.
"Now we have to understand the problems, modify the bike for tomorrow, and especially understand if we can stay with a quite good rhythm."
Rossi admitted that his qualifying slump had left him unsure if he could make any progress in Sunday's race.
"This morning I wasn't very far from the other three or four guys in the second group," he said. "But this afternoon they were able to improve, and we were not. So we'll have to see tomorrow."