Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) took his third successive third place in Sunday’s Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya to maintain second place in the World Championship standings.
Rossi – who launched from P7 on the grid – made a good start to head into Turn 1 in fifth place and by end of lap one, ‘The Doctor’ was up to fourth. After Andrea Dovizioso’s (Ducati Team) crash on lap 9, Rossi then found himself in third, but he was unable to keep tabs on Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) and Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), crossing the line in a lonely third.
Nonetheless, the nine-time World Champion was satisfied with his pace, knowing that the Ducatis and Marquez would be difficult to match. “After the practice I saw the two Ducatis and also Marquez were a little bit faster than me, and I was very close with the second group,” explained Rossi, who admitted to finding something with the bike on Sunday morning that meant he could lap quicker in the race. “But this morning we improved the setting together with my team and I have better turning, I can go a bit faster. After I was not so far but unfortunately it was not enough, but after Dovi made a mistake and I arrive on the podium.”
If you rewind back to this time last year, Rossi finished the race down in P9. This meant getting on the rostrum this year gave the Italian a positive feeling, and also strengthened his position in the Championship to the riders behind. “I’m happy because last year on this race track we struggled very much, it was a disaster, but today I could keep the pace until the last lap in a good way. Also, it’s important points for the Championship because we take a small advantage for the second place and we have to continue like this.”
However, the TT Assen Circuit up next on the calendar, which signals a year since Rossi and the Yamaha last won a race in the premier class. Bad news for both parties, but it provides the perfect opportunity for the 39-year-old to stand on the top step of the podium again.
“It’s very bad news because it’s a long time since my last victory, but also from Yamaha’s last victory, so we need to work. On the other hand, Assen is a fantastic track and usually we are quite competitive there. But, you never know, you have to check when you are there.”