Valentino Rossi says he has clashing emotions approaching his home MotoGP race at Mugello having been boosted by his rostrum Le Mans podium after a tricky private test at the Italian circuit.

The Movistar Yamaha rider made his first return to the podium in France since the 2018 MotoGP opener in Qatar which the 39-year-old says acted as a timely confidence boost preparing for the Mugello round after his team’s recent struggles with the YZF-M1 – with concerns focused mainly around its electronics package.

The rostrum at Le Mans also tempered concerns highlighted by enduring an eye-opening private test at Mugello during the week before the French round. Rossi concedes his Yamaha is “not as fast as we wanted to be” at the test in Italy and expects a tough challenge this weekend.

“It's great to have scored a podium in Le Mans, before Mugello. In general it's good to be on the podium before any race, because the ten days before the next race you're not angry,” Rossi said. “To arrive in Mugello feeling relaxed is better.

“I was feeling optimistic about the race in Mugello before the test there a few weeks ago, but during the test we were not as fast as we wanted to be.

“During this weekend we need to give more. We need to improve the bike and try our best.”

Rossi produced a record of seven consecutive MotoGP race wins at Mugello between 2002 and 2008 but in the following decade has failed to reach the top step of the rostrum at his home round.

The nine-time world champion, who suffered a nasty leg break at Mugello in 2010, has secured three third place finishes (2009, 2014 and 2015) since his last victory at the Italian circuit.

It is believed Repsol Honda and Marc Marquez demonstrated the strongest pace at the private Mugello test. Rossi and the majority of his MotoGP rivals have tested again since the French round at Circuit de Catalunya with primary focus on Michelin's tyres at the resurfaced circuit.