Valentino Rossi has underlined his Movistar Yamaha’s focus for a continued development push with the 2018 YZR-M1.

After “putting it all together” on the final day of MotoGP pre-season testing in Qatar, Rossi returns to the Losail International Circuit for the 2018 season opener and having set a best lap time just short of Johann Zarco’s timesheet-topper by 0.247s on the last day of testing in Qatar two weeks ago the nine-time MotoGP world champion heads into the season with a much-neeeded confidence boost after a tough pair of pre-season tests in Malaysia and Thailand.

Despite the recent progress, Rossi is eager to see his factory Yamaha maintain its development drive at the opening round of the 2018 campaign in order to build-up his challenge for a 10th world title.

“We have to keep working, but everyone at Yamaha wants to improve, to do nice races and win,” Rossi said. “We prepared for this first race during the last tests, but we still have the free practice sessions to improve, to do another step.

“After a long winter, we've finally arrived at the first race of this new season, and after many tests, getting to the first race is always nice. The pre-season tests were important, we understood our weak points and the strong ones.”

Having seen his 2017 season truncated by injuries suffered away from racing, Rossi has also confirmed he’s 100% fit for the new MotoGP campaign and is relishing the battle against “many fast riders”.

“I feel good, I trained well this winter and I'm ready to start this new season together with my M1, my team and the Yamaha staff,” he said. “This will be an interesting season, it seems that there are many fast riders, but we are ready to do our best.”

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