Jorge Lorenzo might be shaping up to be one of Valentino Rossi's toughest ever rivals, but that didn't stop the young Spaniard appreciating the significance of the Italian's 100th grand prix victory in Saturday's Dutch TT.
Lorenzo had a poor start from third on the grid and was 1.5sec behind Rossi's Fiat Yamaha by the time he reached second position on lap 5 of 26.
The 22-year-old looked to close a little on Rossi around mid-distance but in the latter stages he began to lose confidence in the front and was happy enough to settle for second and was just over five seconds from the #46 at the flag.
“The hero of today is Valentino. He has won 100 races. An unbelievable number,” said Lorenzo. “Unfortunately I didn't get a good start today and I had to take a few risks to pass people and come back to the front.
“Once I did I tried to go after Valentino but in some places I just wasn't as fast as him; he was riding 36.5s every time and I didn't really have quite enough confidence to push that hard today because the bike didn't feel perfect.
“As the race went on I started to feel the front tyre 'close' a bit and I decided that it was safer to come home in second!
“Another podium is a great result; it's my 50th and we continue to be very strong this season so I am happy. I am only five points from the lead and we are in a good position going to Laguna, which I am very excited about,” he added.
Lorenzo, who began the race equal on points with Rossi and Casey Stoner, is now second in the championship, just five points from Rossi. Third placed Stoner, the top non-Yamaha on Saturday, finished nearly 18 seconds behind Lorenzo.
“Yamaha has the best bike on the track and this gives us strong motivation for the future,” declared Lorenzo's team manager Daniele Romagnoli.