“I think it was a good race for me.” This is how Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) started describing his Sunday afternoon at the Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky after he crossed the line fourth, becoming the first rider in history to score 6000 points.
The ‘Doctor’ got a good launch from the middle of the front row and was in P1 and P2 for the first half of the race, before Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) made their move, before Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) followed them through.
“I did a good start and a good first lap and I was in the top group but the problem was I was not fast enough to fight with Dovizioso and Marquez, also Lorenzo did a very good race and also Lorenzo was fast in the practice so I didn’t have enough pace unfortunately,” explained Rossi, who managed to pass Crutchlow on the final lap to minimalise the overall standings points deficit to Marquez, who crossed the line third.
“It was a shame because I wanted to arrive on the podium for sure but I wasn’t fast enough. In the end I was able to do a great battle with Cal, I overtook him on the last chicane and I was able to recover one place but it wasn’t enough for the podium.”
The nine-time World Champion was the only rider in the top six to opt for the medium front tyre compound, but was it this that didn’t allow Rossi to mount a fully loaded attack at the podium? “I decided to use the medium because it’s very difficult to use the hard with the Yamaha. But my front tyre was ok, I lost more in acceleration like normal, especially after some laps when the tyre starts to slide. The top guys accelerate in a better way so this was the advantage.”
As well as working on acceleration at the post-Brno test on Monday, the 39-year-old says Yamaha have some “small details” to try as they continue to search for their first Grand Prix victory in over a year, heading to “one of the worst tracks” for them - the Red Bull Ring.
“Yeah, we have something, unfortunately it’s not big, big things but they’re small details so the test for tomorrow is important because next week we're in Austria, which is one of the worst race tracks for us. So, it will be important tomorrow if we are able to find a small step to be competitive.”
Rossi remains second in the Championship but now sits 49 points behind Marquez after the Czech GP, can the rider from Tavullia decrease the gap at the Austrian GP?