Andrea Dovizioso's Motegi error means Valentino Rossi is now just nine-points behind the Ducati rider heading into this weekend's Australian MotoGP.

While recent stats are heavily stacked in Dovizioso's favour - Rossi off the podium for the past six rounds, when Dovizioso has claimed five podiums, including two wins - the Yamaha rider was the most competitive at Phillip Island last year.

Rossi claimed second behind Marc Marquez at the end of a thrilling race, while Dovizioso suffered his worst finish of the season in 13th on a day when the best Ducati was only 11th.

"I like the Australian GP, I'm always very happy to come here. I like the place and also the Phillip Island circuit," said Rossi, winner at Phillip Island from 2001 to 2005 and again in 2014.

"We did a nice race last year, I arrived second and Maverick third. We will try to do a positive race also this year, but the Australian GP is a bit particular. The track is unlike any other circuit, and above all we will have to wait and see what the weather conditions will be like.

"We will do our best, as always."

Movistar Yamaha team director Massimo Meregalli confessed Motegi didn't turn out as expected following the high hopes raised by Buriram, but is counting on the M1's strong past performance at the seaside circuit to replace the previous pre-season testing data.

"The Japanese GP didn't play out like we intended, so we are determined to join the battle at the front this weekend at the Phillip Island circuit, which traditionally is a good track for us," Meregalli said.

"The team is always looking forward to this round, because the atmosphere is great and the sweeping corners suit our bike.

"In previous years we would have visited Phillip Island in the pre-season for testing, but this year that was not the case. This means we will have to work hard from the very start of the first practice to find a comfortable bike setting for the riders, so we can move on to choosing the right tyre for the race as soon as possible.

"Luckily, we have a good basis to start from, as last year we secured a double podium here with Vale and Maverick taking second and third place. The team will give their all to have both riders scoring top results again this weekend."

Vinales, on the podium at Buriram but only seventh at Motegi, is fourth in the world championship and a further 30-points behind Rossi.

"We did our best in Japan, but unfortunately it wasn't enough. Now it's time to focus on Australia," said Vinales.

"Phillip Island is one of my favourite tracks. I like its layout a lot, and I love being there, it's amazing! I had a good experience last year, when we had a double podium with me in the third position, so I'm really motivated for the race.

"Phillip Island is a circuit that brings me good memories. I managed to be on the podium in three categories of the World Championship and I won in 2014 in Moto2. Last year the bike accelerated really well.

"The team have been working very hard at the last races, so we have to try to be strong, as always, and try to be on the podium again in Australia. We’re going to try to make the bike work and have one of our strongest weekends of the season."