Valentino Rossi feels he will have better potential at Catalunya this weekend than he did at Mugello, where the Movistar Yamaha rider claimed a rostrum finish in front of his passionate home fans.

Rossi sealed third behind factory Ducati riders Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso at the Italian round and is 23 points behind MotoGP Championship leader Marc Marquez.

The 39-year-old was encouraged following a test in Montmeló three weeks ago and Rossi is optimistic he can improve further on the M1.

He said: “I hope I can be stronger at the Catalunya circuit, I think our potential there is better than it was at Mugello. At the test in Montmeló we found something.

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“The new track surface is better for us, the new asphalt helps the Yamaha. We were still suffering in some places, but we have to stay focused, not give up and try to gain points.”

Rossi has an impressive record at Catalunya, where he has won seven times in the premier class, taking his most recent win in 2016.

However, Rossi and team-mate Maverick Vinales struggled last year on the old asphalt, although the Italian is much happier with the new surface this year at the track, where the original fast penultimate corner has been reintroduced rather than the F1 chicane used in 2016 and 2017.

Meanwhile, it is rumoured that the factory Yamaha pairing could have some new electronic updates available for Monday's post-race test in Spain.

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