ROSSI I’LL FIGHT TO THE END
Brilliant podium sees Italian star steal second in series, but now he needs to keep winning
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