Rossi targets qualifying improvement

Although the seven-time MotoGP Champion is leading the standings after six rounds, he has disappointed on Saturdays with his best place on the starting grid a P4 at the Circuit of the Americas.

However, the Italian always recovers on the Sunday and has picked up two wins and four podiums for a slender six-point lead over Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo.

Rossi, though, knows the importance of getting things right in qualifying.

"We have to improve a few little things. We have to be better at finding the right set up for the bike and we have to be faster so we can start the race from a better position," he said.

"The YZR-M1 is going really well; we are first and second in the Championship and the last few races of Jorge proved the bikes' competitiveness. We are close and we will work strongly to make it a nice weekend."

The fight for the Championship is a three-horse race this year as Ducati have joined Yamaha and Honda at the front of the grid, but Rossi feels he is in excellent shape ahead of the race at the Circuit de Catalunya.

"The three main manufacturers are more or less at the same level and at every race you can expect everything," he said.

"I love Barcelona; this is one of my favourite tracks. It is always difficult to go fast at that track but last year I rode one of my best races and this year I'm in good shape."