"There's a big difference between 3rd and 4th place. I did everything to pass Dovi, but I wasn't able to." The duel between Valentino and Andrea was the only episode that was exciting in a Grand Prix dominated by Vinales. The two Italians livened the final race, although there was no comparing Ducati's power and Yamaha's rideability.
I was faster than Dovi in corners, but he made the difference in acceleration and cornering," said Rossi. "I tried every which way, but there was nothing I could do."
Not even when braking?
"Even Andrea was fast there, then I'd catch up to him too far in the straights. I managed to pass him, but then he'd react on the straight. Unfortunately, that's what happens when you race with superior bikes in a straight. You can't overtake them in corners.”
Dovizioso said it was nice to battle with you because you're aggressive but not crazy.
"I like dueling with him too, even if I like it more when I beat him," he said, laughing. We're similar in a certain sense because we're fair, sometimes even too fair. Maybe because we're old timers. Young riders are more aggressive. Until some time ago, you'd try to overtake your rival without bothering him much. Now it seems like if you do, that's even better."
At the start of the race, you seemed to have the pace to follow Marquez.
"I lost the podium at the first corner. I started off well but, in third and fourth gear, Miller and Andrea passed me with their Ducatis. Then Petrucci came in and made me go a bit wide, and that's when Marquez passed. I think I could have kept up with Marc, and he might have put me on the straight a bit, but at the second turn I was 9th. I managed to recover quickly, but I had already missed the boat. I should have passed Andrea in the first few laps, but I wasn't able to."
"It was difficult with the difference in maximum speed between the two bikes. s it the biggest ever, like Dovizioso said?
"I have to admit it is. We have to remember that we're coming from two years where there has been lots of confusion. Yamaha didn't follow a clear direction. We had to improve the top speed and, instead, the M1 goes slower than last year. Now it's working like it should, and it shouldn't be difficult to return at least to last year's level. The Yamaha will never be the Ducati, but if we could even just halve this difference, everything would be better."
Vinales' strategy of breaking away, is it the best right now?
"Absolutely, since you can go with your trajectories on a free track and take advantage of the speed that the M1 has when cornering. I'm happy for Maverick's victory - I have a good relationship with him - and even for his team. It's definitely a stimulus for me."
Despite the podium missed, was it a positive weekend?
"Of course, I'm happy with this race, especially if I consider the disappointing results of the last Grand Prix. I would have really liked to get on the podium, but I was competitive, and I also made the new track record in the race. I had less problems with the rear tire and I had fun."
Is it a good sign?
"This is a track that adapts well to the M1, since there are so many fast corners, but it's also the hardest of the year on a physical level, and I felt good."