Defending champion Valentino Rossi says he is in good shape for the start of the MotoGP season in Qatar after a solid pre-season for the Fiat Yamaha team.
Rossi goes into the new season chasing a fifth title in Yamaha colours and tenth crown overall, and will hope to start his season by adding another accomplishment to his already glowing CV.
While he has won twice at Qatar in the past, Rossi has yet to secure victory since the Losail event became a night race with the Italian looking to take his first win under lights.
Although there remains work to do after limited off-season running, Rossi insisted that the team was in good shape for the new campaign and said he was hopeful of a strong start.
"Finally we're at the start of the season and we are all very excited,” he said. “The pre-season has gone well for me, our new M1 is good, Yamaha and Bridgestone have done a great job and we have been fast. We have only had six days on track so we still have work to do and things to learn about the new bike, but we are starting in good shape.
“I expect this season to be a big battle with many riders very strong, and I hope that we will show some good racing to the fans! Qatar hasn't been one of the best tracks for our bike in the last few years but at the test we went well so I hope this will continue again for the race."
Team boss Davide Brivio said that the pace shown by the M1 during testing in Qatar was encouraging for the opening round of the year and said the team was ready for racing to begin.
"Our development in testing has gone very well and this is encouraging for us all,” he said. “We were fast in Sepang but also in Qatar, more than a second faster than last year in fact, so we are going into the first race feeling confident that we can put up a fight. It hasn't been the best race for us previously but everyone is very focused and we will be looking to make a strong start to the campaign. The waiting is nearly over and we're ready - let's go racing!"