Valentino Rossi's first target for this weekend's French MotoGP is to claim a debut 2014 front row start.
The seven time MotoGP champion arrives at round five behind only the Repsol Hondas of Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa in the title standings, despite an average starting position of just 7th on the grid.
The Italian has been boosted by enhanced braking ability from a new chassis and is approaching Le Mans in a positive and optimistic mood, having matched his season-best result of second place last time in Jerez, followed by a productive post-race test.
"I am very happy about the weekend in Jerez, unfortunately I wasn't able to win over Marquez but I managed to win over Pedrosa and Jorge,” said Rossi, whose form means he is increasingly likely to remain in MotoGP. “I am also happy about the test done on the following Monday at the same track.
“During the test I continued to work on the new chassis and I like it, it helps me especially with the front tyre. At Le Mans I will have only one new chassis but I am confident that Yamaha will bring me the second chassis as soon as possible. I want to continue the work on this.
“I made good times during the test, even the 'time attack' was good and so I will try to start from the front row at Le Mans. It's a positive moment for me because I'm pretty fast, I work well in the box and I think we can be very optimistic. We can have a good race".
Rossi was in contention for a podium in last year's wet French race, only to suffer a lowside fall and cross the line in twelfth. The Doctor has won at the circuit on three previous occasions in the premier-class and Le Mans was also the only circuit where Rossi finished on the podium in both Ducati appearances.