Valentino Rossi signed off a topsy-turvy pre-season with second place on the final night of MotoGP testing in Qatar.

The Movistar Yamaha rider - ranked ninth in Sepang and twelfth in Thailand - 'put it all together' after suffering an early fall on Saturday afternoon, setting a best lap time just 0.247s behind satellite Tech3 star Johann Zarco.

More importantly, the Italian also set a competitive pace during his long run… although he admits the second half of the season-opening grand prix will be a leap into the unknown.

"I'm quite happy after this test. I think we worked hard in the three days and this afternoon we put it all together and I was able to do a very good lap, in second position, and also a good rhythm. A good pace," Rossi said.

"But we don't know what will happen during the race. We are all very close. There are a lot of riders who are strong. We continue to suffer with the tyres, front and rear, and I did just a half-race [simulation].

"We tried a lot of different things to improve the front tyre. I crashed when I tried the hard front. With the other front tyre that I like it is difficult to arrive at the end [of the race] so I tried the hard. I didn't have very good feeling and I did a small crash. But I'm okay.

"Until half-race distance I'm strong, but from that point until the end of the race we have another 10 laps that we have to understand what will happen. We will see in two weeks!"

And the question marks don't end there.

Rossi feels, as last season, the fortunes of each rider and team will ebb and flow from one track to the next.

"What we've discovered during these winter tests is that, like last year, the situation changes very much from one track to the other," explained the nine-time world champion.

"We suffered a lot in Thailand, but we are competitive here.

"So this will be tricky - for everybody, I hope - and it will be very important to try not to suffer too much in your difficult tracks.

"We are all very close and the line between strong or not strong enough is very, very small."

Preparing to start his 23rd season in grand prix, Rossi has clear goals for the year ahead:

"Try to be more competitive than last year, try to make more points, more podiums and especially try not to suffer too much in a race that I love like Jerez or Barcelona. I want to try to stay as much as possible in the top five always."

In terms of what he expects from Yamaha to help him achieve that, The Doctor remains sure the M1 is lagging in terms of its electronics.

"For me Yamaha have to work hard, especially for the electronic and I think under that point of view we have to improve a lot. I think that everybody has enough motivation, especially Yamaha want to try to win.

"But it's not easy. I don’t know how much time we need. And for me that point is the weakest point for us."

Told that his team-mate Maverick Vinales - winner of last year's race - looked disappointed, Rossi replied:

"Yes Maverick looks very down but at the end he is fifth, so it's because he wants to stay in first position, by one second, every day! It's a different approach. I think he's young and he wants to try to always stay in front.

"But with the modern MotoGP things change very much, for me, because the limit with the tyre is very close for everybody, so you have to suffer sometimes."

Finally, Rossi was asked for his opinion on the special wet weather night test, organised at the end of Saturday to decide if it would be safe for MotoGP to compete in the rain at night, something previously banned due to visibility concerns.

"It's okay, I think we can do. I was riding alone so I don’t know in a group. But my feeling is you can ride without big problems in the night and it looks like the grip of the track is normal with the water. So I think we can do."

The season-opening grand prix will be held at the same Losail circuit form March 16-18.