Valentino Rossi is desperate to get the new MotoGP campaign underway in Qatar this weekend after promising signs from his Yamaha during pre-season.
The Italian, a seven-time world champion, has fared well in testing since returning to the track after finishing second to Marc Marquez in the 2016 season.
Rossi feels improvements can still be made to his bike, but that has not stifled his eagerness for the challenge ahead.
"I'm very happy that the season finally starts," said the 38-year-old. "It's been a busy [pre-season], challenging, and now I really need to race.
"Our bike has improved a lot and, although we are not there yet, we will work hard during the next few days in Qatar to be ready for the start of the first race of the season.
"We will see what the weather conditions will be like and then we will try to find the best set-up possible. I'm confident that together with the team we will be ready for Sunday."
Rossi has won on four occasions at the Losail International Circuit, but only one of those successes has come since 2010.