Nine-times world champion Valentino Rossi says he has an ‘account to settle’ with the Circuit of the Americas, after the Yamaha rider crashed out of podium contention in last year’s race early doors.

Rossi has made a strong start to his 2017 campaign despite suffering issues with the front-end of his YZR-M1. The Italian has managed to put poor Friday and Saturday performances behind him to finish third and second in the opening two races.

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12 months ago, the Doctor had commenced his season in a similarly competitive fashion, but this all came undone in Austin when he crashed on the second lap. Feeling as if he is heading in the right direction with the 2017 M1, Rossi is keen to make amends for last year’s error.

“I’m happy to be in Texas; I really like Austin,” he said.

“Austin is a very difficult track and I love riding here. I have an account to settle with this track, because last year in warm-up I made a big step for a strong race but unfortunately I made a mistake.”

America has been fairly kind to Rossi over the years, the Italian tallying up two victories in 2008 at Indianapolis and Laguna Seca.

The 5.5km Circuit of the Americas has been less fruitful for him, however, Rossi managing just one podium finish back in 2015.

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Rossi comes into this round trailing team-mate Maverick Vinales by 14 points, and knows that he has to improve his performance during Friday’s two 45-minute free practice sessions in order to come into Sunday with a better chance at fighting for the victory.

“The first two races of the season went well and I hope to improve the performance of the first days of free practice. We have much work to do, but I’m confident in my bike and in my team,” he added.

“This year I want to try to have a good race. I also really like the atmosphere at the American circuit, and I come to this place always very happily.”