Valentino Rossi accepted the blame for a poor qualifying session in Le Mans that will see him start down in seventh for the Grand Prix of France.
The Yamaha rider said the combination of wrong strategy, mistakes and traffic contributed to his poor performance, a far cry from his pole position in Jerez a fortnight ago.
Rossi's team-mate Jorge Lorenzo claimed pole with a record-quick lap, a whole 0.854seconds faster than the Italian.
"We did a wrong strategy and unfortunately I was stuck in the traffic, I lost a lot of time," Rossi said.
"But at the end, I had another chance to make one good lap and it was not so bad, but I made a mistake in section three and I lost a lot.
"My potential was to start with the top five. I have to start from the third row, from seventh, so it's more difficult.
"The pace is not so bad, but from the third row everything is more difficult, but we can try to make a not so bad race.
"If we are able to improve two or three points, two tenths per lap, I can be also more competitive."
MotoGP championship leader Marc Marquez will start in second for Sunday's race, with Ducati's Andrea Iannone rounding out the front row.