Bril­liant podium sees Ital­ian star steal sec­ond in se­ries, but now he needs to keep win­ning

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport - SI­MON PAT­TER­SON IN CZECH REPUB­LIC MO­TOGP RE­PORTER si­mon.pat­ter­son@mo­tor­cy­cle­

Valentino Rossi took a strong sec­ond place at Brno on Sun­day, but knows he still has a moun­tain to climb if he is to over­haul cham­pi­onship leader Marc Mar­quez. His bit­ter ri­val made the most of the con­di­tions to fin­ish third and now has a 53-point ad­van­tage over Rossi with seven rounds to go.

The Ital­ian ended a run of poor re­sults with a strate­gi­cally bril­liant per­for­mance hav­ing started the race on the same hard rear tyre that took Cal Crutchlow to vic­tory. The fac­tory Yamaha man was able to make huge in­roads in the sec­ond half of the race to power through the pack from twelfth to take sec­ond at the che­quered flag.

But, with the con­di­tions also serv­ing to neu­tralise many of the dif­fi­cul­ties faced by Honda’s Mo­togp rac­ers this sea­son, ti­tle leader Mar­quez came out best of the scrap be­hind Rossi to take the fi­nal spot on the podium and 16 valu­able points.

“I am not sure there are enough races left now,” lamented Rossi. “I have made too many mis­takes and have been a lit­tle un­lucky so now I may be too far be­hind. Mar­quez has been fast in all con­di­tions this year and he al­ways makes the right choice all the time so it is very dif­fi­cult to re­cover 53 points. But there are seven races and we can be strong un­til the end and try to the max­i­mum, even if I think it would be very dif­fi­cult to take the ti­tle.”

In re­cent years Rossi has been clos­ing down on Gi­a­como Agostini’s elu­sive record of 122 Grand Prix wins, with 112 of his own al­ready on the record books. But while Rossi clearly has one eye on that record, he was clear to point out his sat­is­fac­tion at be­ing on the podium again af­ter what has been a dif­fi­cult spell.

“I’m very happy when I ar­rive on the podium and have a lot of points at the end of the sea­son, so I al­ways race like this. I do not want to make it all or noth­ing for one race.”

Rossi also has the added sat­is­fac­tion of now lead­ing ri­val and team-mate Jorge Lorenzo in the ti­tle fight with his podium mean­ing that he now holds sec­ond in the ti­tle stand­ings, six points ahead of the Spa­niard.

“First of all it is very im­por­tant to be on the podium as I haven’t been on the podium since the vic­tory in Barcelona! That was a very long time ago and I was start­ing to be a bit sad. Af­ter Barcelona, I had some races where I was com­pet­i­tive and un­lucky or made a lot of mis­takes and lost too many points.

“This re­sult is so im­por­tant for me and the team. The 20 points are also im­por­tant for the cham­pi­onship, as I gained a lot of points in the fight with Lorenzo and now I am sec­ond.

“The fight with Lorenzo for sec­ond place is very open and Sun­day was very im­por­tant for that, but at the same time Lorenzo is very strong and fast so from Sil­ver­stone he will try to win so we’ll have to fight with him un­til the end even if it is for sec­ond place.”

‘We can be strong to the end of the sea­son and I will give the max­i­mum’ VALENTINO ROSSI

With Mar­quez be­hind him and Lorenzo nowhere to be seen it was a good day for Valentino Podium glory but the sea­son hasn’t quite been what the Doc­tor or­dered

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