Valentino Rossi accepts that third position in the MotoGP World Championship this season would be a ‘good achievement’ although the Yamaha rider feels it will be difficult to retain his place until the end of the season.

Yamaha has endured a difficult 2018 as the wait for a first MotoGP triumph since Rossi won at Assen in in June 2017 continues.

The nine-time world champion holds an advantage of 29 points over team-mate Maverick Vinales and Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo, who are joint third in the standings, but the 39-year-old anticipates a difficult end to the campaign.

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“We did the test here in February and it was not fantastic, but anyway we are in a difficult moment, so we have to try to stay concentrated and try to stay as focused as possible,” Rossi said.

“With the speed that we demonstrate during the season to be on the third position is a good achievement at this moment. I have 29 points of advantage on Maverick (Vinales) but also in the second part of the season he is very strong, so I think it will be very difficult to keep the third position. But we have to try and try to be constant and make some points.”

Rossi has welcomed the first ever MotoGP race in Thailand, which will be the 37th different track he has raced at, but says the first turn at the Chang International Circuit is ‘not fantastic’.

“It looks like we spend more and more time in this part of the world because the passion for MotoGP is very high. So it is important also for all the manufacturers, and it will be interesting to race for the first time in Thailand.

“On the paper, it will be hard because the track is not fantastic for Turn 1, but for sure we will try. Like Andrea (Dovizioso) said also, the weather is difficult because it is very, very hot and it can rain every day, so we hope first of all for a dry race.”

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