Valentino Rossi says Movistar Yamaha’s priority at Sepang will be to ensure it gets on top of its Michelin tyre conservation in the hot temperatures for the Malaysian MotoGP.

Since the switch to Michelin as sole tyre supplier in MotoGP in 2016, Rossi feels race pace and tyre life over the second half of the Malaysian race has been key to deciding the podium in both wet and dry conditions.

Rossi, a six-time race winner at Sepang, last tasted victory at the Malaysian track in 2010 but with the added momentum from team-mate Maverick Vinales’ victory last time out at Phillip Island he’s optimistic the factory Yamaha squad can find performance breakthroughs having suffered for traction with tyre spinning throughout this year.

“I like this track a lot with the layout as it is technical and very fast. The demand on the rear tyre is very high because it is very hot so it will be hard as always,” Rossi said. “It looks like our bike is good but we need to pay attention to saving the tyre over the second half of the race as in the last two years it is the most important thing in MotoGP.

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“Unfortunately in Australia I lost important points for the championship and I'm very disappointed about that, but I'm happy for Maverick and for Yamaha.

“We must continue to work hard because we have to be competitive at every race.”

Rossi lost vital ground to Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso with his sixth place in Australia, as the Italian secured the final spot on the podium, to see the factory Yamaha rider slip to 15 points behind his fellow countryman in the fight for second place in the riders’ standings.

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