Valentino Rossi is bidding to win a tenth world title in 2019 and although he is pleased with improvements to the Monster Yamaha M1, the MotoGP legend remains concerned over one-lap pace.

Rossi and team-mate Maverick Vinales made strides forward with race distance tyre wear at the Malaysia test but The Doctor still thinks they would suffer if the Qatar opener was this weekend.

“In the hot lap, we suffer a little bit. About the pace, looks like we are a bit closer. But I’m quite worried still, if we race tomorrow, I think that anyway we suffer, because we have something else to improve,” said Rossi, speaking at Sepang.

“But as the first test it’s not so bad. Now Qatar [testing] is in 10 days, I don’t think that for Qatar we can have something new, but it is another track, another temperature, will be interesting to understand.”

Rossi was upbeat about his team in general as changes from the top down have brought in better direction, reckons the Italian.

“For me the bigger thing that I’m happy is, the team, the last two years we were a little bit lost. Yamaha worked, we tried something, but it was always ‘oh, we don’t know, better, worse, we don’t know’,”

“This time, we try something that improves, we try something that is worse but it’s like we have a direction. We need time because our opponents are very strong but we are more optimistic.”