Movistar Yamaha's Valentino Rossi will be aiming to uphold his excellent record in Qatar when the 2015 MotoGP World Championship blasts off this weekend.

Rossi has scored three wins and four runner-up finishes at the Losail International Circuit and was involved in some memorable battles with Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez under the floodlights at the desert venue in the past two years.

The nine-time world champion, who tested Yamaha's full seamless shift gearbox at the Qatar test earlier in March, expects a close race once again on Sunday but is fired up and ready to do battle.

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"I am very happy to leave for the first race of the season after many days of testing. I am very satisfied about the tests," said Rossi.

"The bike has improved a lot, but we still have a lot of work to do. Unfortunately we could not finish the test due to rain and it will be important to resume work on the bike where we had stopped.

"It seems that in Qatar there will be many fast riders, so we'll all be very close in times. At least that's what the tests told us. I am very excited to start this season," added the 36-year-old.

"I'm ready, I feel good and also my team is ready. They are all very motivated."