Valentino Rossi made an inauspicious start to the final MotoGP pre-season test in Qatar after picking himself out of the gravel on only his third lap after a fault with his front fork.

The Movistar Yamaha rider went down at Turn 8, costing him one of his three sets of tyres allocated for the opening day of the test at the Losail International Circuit.

Rossi escaped unharmed and recovered to set the eighth fastest time behind satellite Honda rider Cal Crutchlow, lapping in 1m 55.938s despite being unable to attempt a time attack in the final session.

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"At the end today it was not so bad. I had a quite good pace, we worked a little bit on the bike and we improved the setting. Unfortunately I had a crash at the beginning of the session because a fork [seal] broke and put oil on the rear tyre," Rossi said.

"Fortunately I was not injured, but I did have one less tyre so I had to work the whole day with two sets and I was not able to do the time attack at the end. The feeling is quite good for the first day, the lap times are not so bad and it looks like this year's battle will be very hard because all the bikes and the riders are very strong," added Rossi, who has been critical of the Ducatis, fastest on Saturday, still being given the Open class technical concessions.

"Tomorrow we have to continue to work on the bike. We don't have a lot of new things, but we'll work on the balance and the setting and will try to improve the lap time."

Rossi ended the first day 0.673s behind Ducati pacesetter Andrea Iannone.