Valentino Rossi expects the first real fruits of Yamaha's new European Test Team to be ready for Monday's official post-race outing at Jerez.

In a bid to get back on terms with the likes of Honda and Ducati, Yamaha set-up the new development team late last year and hired MotoGP podium finisher Jonas Folger.

"From last year to this year, Yamaha have done some good moves to improve the situation," Rossi said. "Like Honda and Ducati we have a European test team, with Folger, and they work in a good way.

"It's very important to have a test team in Europe because before Yamaha just have in Japan," added the Italian, currently a close second in the world championship standings.

"But in Japan the tracks are very different. Sometimes I go on the Yamaha test track but it's very different, very narrow, full of bumps. It's difficult to test something for the European tracks."

By contrast, Folger's recent duties include putting in mileage on the Mugello and Misano grand prix circuits.

"I think we will use something that Jonas tried," Rossi said. "Not already this weekend, when the package is like the first races, but on Monday we will have the first [in-season] test and I think that we can try something for improve the bike."

Rossi's narrow defeat at the hands of Alex Rins in COTA means The Doctor's win drought still stretches back to Assen 2017, but two second-places in the opening three rounds is a promising start.

"Yes, I am very happy with the start of the season. In the three races I was always quite strong and I have taken some important points," he said. "Now I start the most important part of the season, from Jerez we will have a lot of European tracks that are very good so we have to understand.

"The target is to try to fight for the championship and try to stay there. For sure compared to last year the atmosphere [in the team] is better because it is always correlated to the results."

 

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