The six-time MotoGP world champion qualified in 10th for Sunday’s race at Mugello, well adrift of Marc Marquez, who is course for his sixth straight victory after once again claiming pole.
Rossi, 44 points behind defending champion Marquez in the standings in third place, now faces a tough challenge if he is to secure a good result in front of his home fans in his 300th grand prix.
And the Italian conceded that the decision to change to a softer front tyre when holding fifth place was a misguided one.
“We made a big mistake in the qualifying, we decided to change the front tyre at the same time as the second rear,” Rossi said.
“It was the wrong decision, I felt really bad with the softer front and I was unable to improve my lap time. It’s a great shame, because I had a good potential and could have started on the front, my pace is good and I feel good with the bike, but it’s like this.
“Tomorrow (Sunday) from the fourth row everything will be harder and more difficult. We have good pace, we need to fix some small problems and try to make the maximum.
“I want to try and make a good race because it’s my 300th Grand Prix and also we are in Mugello. I’m quite desperate for the tenth position but nothing is lost yet. It will be hard but we can do a good race.”
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