Rossi: Last year's race was incredibly tricky

Valentino Rossi sets sights on podium fight, and stable track conditions, in Argentina this weekend.
Rossi: Last year's race was incredibly tricky

Valentino Rossi hopes MotoGP won't face a repeat of last year's patchy track conditions in Argentina this weekend, as the Monster Yamaha rider chases his first podium of the season.

The 40-year-old delivered another potent charge through the field in the Qatar season-opener, recovering from a dismal 14th in qualifying to finish in fifth, as top Yamaha, and just 0.6s from victory.

Now he hopes to fight for what would be his 233rd grand prix rostrum, in Termas.

"I enjoyed the race in Qatar, but now we focus on Argentina," Rossi said. "First of all, we hope we'll have good track conditions at the circuit this weekend, because that's always crucial. Second of all, we hope we'll have good weather this year."

On the podium in Argentina from 2015-2017, including a victory in 2015, Rossi had been on course for sixth in last season's damp race until a controversial clash with Marc Marquez sent the Italian onto the grass, where he fell.

Marquez was penalised, while Rossi launched a withering post-race tirade against the Honda rider, three years after their first clash at the same circuit.

Brushing over last year's controversy, the nine-time world champion is eager for stable track conditions this weekend.

"Last year's race was incredibly tricky, riding on a half-wet, half-dry surface - it was very difficult to ride the bike with slicks over the wet patches. We hope we won't have to repeat that, and we will see if we're strong," Rossi said.

"I'll do my best to fight for the podium.”

"Though I'm sure the spectators all enjoyed the drama of last year's unplanned and slightly chaotic starting procedure, we are hoping for a completely wet or dry race," added Yamaha team director Massimo Meregalli, referring to the last-minute start delay.

"We know this track suits our bike, and our riders also enjoy this circuit, so we hope to be in for another exciting GP weekend and work towards a strong result."