Valentino Rossi expressed more concerns about his damaged right shoulder in Le Mans today, despite the Italian topping the timesheets in free practice.
The reigning world champion could not have timed his attack more perfectly with the 31-year-old snatching top spot in the dying seconds.
A best lap of 1.34.402 denied Ducati rival Casey Stoner the quickest time in hot conditions that saw temperatures hit 28 degrees at the French circuit.
Rossi, who goes into Sunday’s 28-lap race trailing Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo by four-points, said: “It was a very good practice and to be first is always a special taste. To make the best lap on the last lap is also more of a good taste even if it is just Friday.
"I’m happy because we continued with the modifications from the Monday test in Jerez and that provides us with good rear grip. This new setting could be important also for the future.
"We are competitive from the beginning and that is so important, but unfortunately I have a lot of pain in my shoulder still. In two or three braking points I have a lot of pain. I expected to be 100 per cent but I’m still suffering a little bit.
"I’m in a better condition than Jerez but in the hard braking I suffer. We have to wait but I hope my shoulder is coming better tomorrow and Sunday. In Jerez it got better but maybe that was adrenaline.”
The nine-times world champion said he was surprised that his right shoulder was still causing him so much pain. He stretched ligaments when he crashed a motocross bike while training in Italy last month.
Rossi, who is chasing a fourth win in Le Mans, said: “I am surprised because I expected to arrive here at 100 per cent, but unfortunately I need a lot of time. I have a lot of pain with some movements but on the bike I don’t have enough power to push in braking.”
Explaining the modifications made at the Jerez test to his factory YZR-M1, Rossi added: “We modified the rear suspension setting to create more stiffness and stability and the bike looks good. I followed a Honda and in this track we don’t suffer a lot in the straight.”