Valentino Rossi holds little hope of ending a five-year losing streak at the Indianapolis Grand Prix.
The nine-time world champion has qualified ninth, on the outside of the third row, for Sunday’s 27-lap race.
He was a massive 1.3 seconds off the pace of pole man Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) and in a disconsolate mood after qualifying.
Rossi won the inaugural Indy MotoGP race in 2008 when a wild hurricane hit the Brickyard and forced the raced to be red-flagged after 20 laps.
But in qualifying for the 2013 edition, Rossi put in his worst Saturday performance of this season with his ninth-fastest time.
He has won just one race, the Dutch TT at Assen in June, since rejoining Yamaha at the beginning of this season.
“I have a lot of problems on brake and entry to the corners, and when I try to push I have too much movement on the front,” Rossi said.
“Plus, I made some mistakes and had two moments on the front. I lost a lot of feeling.
“My position and the time from the top guy is very high. For the race pace I am not so behind, but there are lot of people fast and constant.”
Rossi experienced similar front-end handling issues at the beginning of the season, but a revised suspension setup was the platform for his stunning win in the Dutch TT. He qualified fourth for that race.
“The modified front fork we used at Assen was a good step, but here the feeling is more like the beginning of the season,” he said.
“This track is the worst for me; I am always struggling a lot. Qualifying is a bad result and the race will be hard and tough.
“I expect that this track is more difficult, but I had hoped to be closer to the front.”
The record-setting pace set by Marquez in qualifying has made the leader of the world championship a hot favorite to win his third consecutive race following victories in Germany and Laguna Seca.