In the run-up to his first Japanese MotoGP as a Yamaha rider since 2010, Valentino Rossi was reunited with an old friend at Yamaha's headquarters in Iwata.

The Italian took part in a live talk show with Masao Furusawa, who was put in charge of Yamaha's struggling MotoGP project in 2003, the season before Rossi joined from Honda.

Furusawa and Rossi transformed Yamaha's fortunes, claiming four MotoGP riders' titles - plus a fifth for Jorge Lorenzo - by the time Furusawa retired at the end of 2010, when Rossi made an ill-fated move to Ducati.

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Yamaha completed a perfect sweep of the riders', teams' and constructors' crowns in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Lorenzo then added a further riders' title for the Furusawa-inspired 'big bang' M1 in 2012.

"I was very happy to come back to Yamaha's headquarters in Iwata and to see many 'old' friends," said Rossi. "The support is always fantastic so it is a real pleasure to be here again."

Rossi took his sixth podium of the season last weekend in Australia, and was also third in his most recent Motegi appearance for Yamaha.

"Motegi is a place I like a lot, it is a very good track. We will see our potential on Friday morning and of course we will give 100% to do a good performance," he said.

"Everybody expects wet conditions. We haven't had rain since Le Mans this year. So we have been lucky and it looks like this weekend we will pay. It is interesting. I think I can be competitive with the M1 in the wet..."