Valentino Rossi's 2016 MotoGP title hopes first began to unravel when he fell at last year's Austin race.

The Italian returns holding second in the world championship behind new Movistar Yamaha team-mate Maverick Vinales, after podiums in both Qatar and Argentina.

The Doctor's priority is now to get on top of his persistent front-end problems early in the weekend, as he seeks to settle his account with the COTA circuit.

"I'm happy to be in Texas. I really like Austin. The first two races of the season went well and I hope to improve the performance of the first days of free practice," Rossi said. "We have much work to do, but I'm confident in my bike and in my team. Austin is a very difficult track and I love riding here.

"I have an account to settle with this track because last year in the warm-up I made a big step for a strong race but unfortunately I made a mistake. This year I want to try to have a good race. I also really like the atmosphere at the American circuit and I come to this place always very happily."

Rossi is 14 points behind Vinales, 16 ahead of Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso and 23 clear of Honda's reigning champion Marc Marquez, the only rider to win or claim a pole position at COTA.

A win for any M1 rider would be Yamaha's 500th in Motorcycle Grand Prix racing.

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