Valentino Rossi is targeting his first Aragon podium as he continues his quest to catch MotoGP pace setters Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez.

The Spanish circuit hasn't been kind to either Rossi or Yamaha in the past, The Doctor's best result being a sixth on his only previous M1 appearance, in 2010, while Yamaha - unlike Ducati and Honda - is yet to win the event.

But Rossi is buoyed by recent technical improvements, in the form of a seamless shift gearbox introduced at the San Marino Grand Prix, then a 'very positive' post-race test in which he was a close third fastest behind title leaders Marquez (Honda) and Lorenzo (Yamaha).

Rossi has finished in fourth place, behind the title leaders, at the last four races. Never before have the same three riders been on the podium at four successive premier-class events - a run Rossi will be aiming to end.

"After doing a test, I am always very curious to go to the next race," said Rossi.

"The Misano test was very positive. We improved various aspects so I want to see if we are able to make a further step in the race.

"My goal is always to fight with Jorge, Dani and Marc. In recent tests done at Aragon, Jorge and I made good times with the M1. The bike worked well so we are eager to go on to this circuit."

"We're going to Aragon with great expectations. We made two good private tests and the last one at Misano gave satisfactory results," added team director Massimo Meregalli.

Rossi, winner of this year's Dutch TT, is fourth in the world championship standings with five rounds to go.

Lorenzo and Pedrosa, tied in second place, are effectively out of reach, but Rossi has increased his lead over top satellite rider Cal Crutchlow to 23 points.