Although feeling more comfortable on board his YZR-M1, Valentino Rossi has left to rue a lack of pace around the Indianapolis circuit during qualifying.
Rossi, who is leading the riders' championship ahead of his Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, went into Saturday's qualifying feeling more confident after a good final practice.
But rather than launch a challenge for a front row starting position, the Italian found himself slipping down the order.
Rossi fastest lap during Q2 was a 1:32.511 which putting him P8 and on the third row of the grid.
"Yesterday I was very slow and a bit worried, and we didn't start with a good base setting," he stated. "Today the situation has improved, especially my pace is not so bad.
"In FP4 I was in fourth position and I raised my level and my potential a lot and also the life of the tyre is longer, but unfortunately in qualifying I wasn't strong enough to start from the second row.
"I hit traffic, made mistakes and I have to start from the third row. This is a big problem because I'm not very fast here and we still have some problems with the bike that we have to improve, we have to make a step for tomorrow."
His disappointing showing in qualifying coupled with the pace of the Hondas and Lorenzo have left Rossi conceding that a top-three result may be a step too far.
"I think fighting for the podium tomorrow will be hard, because Marc and Jorge are very strong, but at this track like at Sachsenring also Dani is very fast, so it will be difficult," he concluded.