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By Movistar Yamaha MotoGP

Rossi: “I had two choices – go straight or crash!”

The ‘Doctor’ takes another impressive podium in Austin despite incident with Zarco

Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) converted a front row start into another podium finish in Texas, as he held off Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) in the early stages and hunted down Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) in the latter to cross the line in P2 behind winner Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team).

Rossi: "I didn't think we would be leading the championship!"

Despite a difficult preseason, the number 46 is now the only rider to have been on the rostrum in every race so far – and in doing so has taken the Championship lead as the paddock heads for Jerez, the venue at which he took his first win of 2016.

But despite the impressive outcome, it wasn’t all plain-sailing at the Circuit of the Americas, as an attempted overtake from rookie Zarco saw the nine-time World Champion forced to sit up and head into the run off area - rejoining slightly further ahead. Subsequently given a 0.3 time penalty applied at the end of the race for gaining an advantage, Rossi believes he had two choices – run on or crash – and that the key issue wasn’t the penalty, but the move.

Valentino Rossi, P2: “This is a big surprise, especially for us, because after the tests we were quite desperate. We tried to think to use the whole bike and we made the right choice. The problem was that we needed more time to understand the way to ride the bike and how to set it up. But the bike has something positive, at the end of the race I’m able to push and be strong. In Argentina with Cal and here with Dani I could attack. Last year I was fast in the beginning and then suffered. It’s just three races so it will be hard to remain in this position but it’s great - we just need to enjoy the moment. Today, for me the penalty wasn’t right because I had two choices – go straight or crash. But the problem there was not Race Direction, the problem was Zarco. He’s very fast, he rides very well and has great potential but this isn’t Moto2 and if you want to overtake you overtake in a different way and he always arrives too delayed. He needs to stay a little more quiet!”

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