After suffering his worst MotoGP result since 2009, in the form of seventh place on his Ducati race debut at Qatar earlier this month, Valentino Rossi is determined to 'do better' this Sunday in Spain.

Round two at Jerez marks the start of the European season and has been a happy hunting ground for seven-time MotoGP champion Rossi, who has won at the circuit five times in the premier-class.

Last year Rossi was a close third for Yamaha, in his first race since damaging shoulder tendons in a motocross training crash.

The legacy of that accident continues to haunt the Italian superstar, who finally underwent corrective surgery at the end of 2010, and shoulder strength remains his biggest concern heading into this weekend.

"Qatar, with its many hard corner entries and areas where we brake to the right, was difficult for my shoulder. We'll see if Jerez is a little easier from that point of view, although I think I'll still have to grit my teeth for a while," he admitted.

"Since Qatar, I've continued working out in the gym to try and increase my strength and especially my endurance, but after Spain I'll have almost a month to recuperate more fully, following the postponement of the Japanese Grand Prix."

Unfortunately for Rossi, Jerez hasn't gelled well with the 800cc version of the Desmosedici - the squad's sole podium being with Casey Stoner in 2009.

"From a technical point of view, Jerez doesn't seem to have been the most favourable track for Ducati, but I've always liked it a lot and we'll definitely have to try and do better than we have until now," insisted Rossi.

"For the moment, we'll continue working on the setup, using everything we learned in Qatar, where we found some good solutions for the race."

Rossi was the top Ducati at Qatar, with team-mate Nicky Hayden finishing in ninth.

The American claimed a solid fourth at Jerez last season and considers the Spanish Grand Prix weekend to be one of the highlights of the year.

"Jerez is a really unique race with a great track," he began. "It's one of the highlights of the whole season, and because it's the first European race, in some ways it almost feels like it's the first race of the year all over again. It's a track I've enjoyed in the past, and I definitely enjoy racing there.

"Round 1 in Qatar obviously didn't go how we'd hoped, pretty much from the start of the weekend, so we need to just try and learn from that and go into Jerez and hopefully come out a lot stronger on Friday.

"We'll just go back at 'em - that's all I really know how to do. Hopefully we can get up closer to the sharp end and have a bit of fun. Jerez can be a really fund weekend if you're in the mix. We don't really have any miracle game plan or anything crazy. We'll just go in there and try and get a good result."

Ducati hasn't kept pace with the speed of winter developments by Honda and Yamaha, but team manager Vittoriano Guareschi is determined the factory can catch up.

"I can't wait to get back to the track for the next race, and to continue working on the GP11 in order to give Vale and Nicky a bike that's as competitive as possible," he said.

"For a variety of reasons, we haven't been able to take full advantage of the winter tests, but the Qatar race weekend allowed us to collect important data and information, and I think that the team did some great work on the setup.

"It's true that at least with the 800s, Jerez hasn't been particularly good to us, but both Valentino and Nicky like it a lot and we'll go there ready to give our best."



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