Rossi expecting tough 2017 season

Following a grueling eight hour test session at Sepang, Valentino Rossi is expecting a challenging 2017 season on the bike.

Day three in Malaysia would end with Rossi's new Movistar Yamaha teammate Maverick Vinales at the top of the timesheet. While Rossi was just two tenths off the pace, he was down in fifth place.

In fact, seven riders would finish within three tenths of second behind the top placed Vinales, who replaced Jorge Lorenzo at Yamaha.

"At the end the test is positive, because my lap time was good," the veteran told

"My final lap of 1m59.5s is not so bad. We are all very close. But especially we find a lot of good things for the bike. Especially this afternoon, we worked more on the new chassis, and I feel good. At the end we found something interesting to improve. 

"It was a difficult test because it was very long but we found something positive. All the new stuff – not all, but the major part – is good. 

"The problem is that the first riders are all very close and all very fast. Together on the time attack but also on the pace. So I think that it will be a very tough fight."

The Doctor will get his 18th MotoGP season underway at the Grand Prix of Qatar on 26 March.