Having missed last year's Aragon rounds due to Covid, Valentino Rossi's final MotoGP appearance at the Spanish circuit will also mark his first laps of the track since 2019.

It's also one of the few venues on the calendar where the 42-year-old has never taken a race victory, his best results being third places for the Factory Yamaha team in 2013, 2015 and 2016.

The nine-time world champion is yet to threaten such results at Petronas Yamaha during his last season before retirement, but was expecting to deliver one of his strongest races of the year last time at Silverstone, only to be among a number of riders to suffer unexpected grip issues.

"I felt good with the bike throughout all of the British GP, especially as in the free practices we had one of the best pace of our season. We also had a good start to the race, where I was in a place that I could fight with the fastest riders," said Rossi, who is now hoping to pick up where he left off before the Silverstone race.

"I am hopeful that we can feel the same this weekend, but Aragon can be really demanding in terms of grip level during the whole race – especially on the rear.

"Although I have been on the podium a few times, I have never won there. The layout of the track is good and it’s fast, but riding it is tricky; you have to be especially smooth in this circuit to be strong at the end of the race.

"We will see what happens though and I’m looking forward to being back there after missing it last year."

Rossi, who has a best finish of eighth so far this season, is currently 21st in the world championship. The Doctor will again be joined by Jake Dixon this weekend, with Franco Morbidelli still sidelined following knee surgery.