After suffering his worst MotoGP result since 2009, in the form of seventh place on his Ducati race debut at Qatar earlier this month, Valentino Rossi is determined to 'do better' this Sunday in Spain.
Round two at Jerez marks the start of the European season and has been a happy hunting ground for seven-time MotoGP champion Rossi, who has won at the circuit five times in the premier-class.
Last year Rossi was a close third for Yamaha, in his first race since damaging shoulder tendons in a motocross training crash.
The legacy of that accident continues to haunt the Italian superstar, who finally underwent corrective surgery at the end of 2010, and shoulder strength remains his biggest concern heading into this weekend.
“Qatar, with its many hard corner entries and areas where we brake to the right, was difficult for my shoulder. We'll see if Jerez is a little easier from that point of view, although I think I'll still have to grit my teeth for a while,” he admitted.
“Since Qatar, I've continued working out in the gym to try and increase my strength and especially my endurance, but after Spain I'll have almost a month to recuperate more fully, following the postponement of the Japanese Grand Prix.”
Unfortunately for Rossi, Jerez hasn't gelled well with the 800cc version of the Desmosedici - the squad's sole podium being with Casey Stoner in 2009.
“From a technical point of view, Jerez doesn't seem to have been the most favourable track for Ducati, but I've always liked it a lot and we'll definitely have to try and do better than we have until now,” insisted Rossi.
“For the moment, we'll continue working on the setup, using everything we learned in Qatar, where we found some good solutions for the race.”
Rossi was the top Ducati at Qatar, with team-mate Nicky Hayden finishing in ninth.