The only doubt in Valentino Rossi's mind heading into the Le Mans race seemed to be the strength in his healing shoulder, which he felt might become a factor later in the race.

But he believed his Fiat Yamaha - which he had qualified on pole position - was working well and so was surprised to find 'unexpected problems' in the race.

The reigning seven time MotoGP champion lead the first eleven of the 28 laps, but Lorenzo was always a threat and, after overtaking The Doctor, he rode to a victory margin of over five seconds.

"I got a very good start but I knew from the beginning that we lacked some pace compared to Lorenzo and we had some unexpected problems in the race, mainly to do with grip on exit and acceleration from the corners," said Rossi.

"I expected to be faster but it wasn't the case today. I tried to stay in front of Lorenzo but it wasn't possible and I couldn't go with him once he was past, congratulations to him because he was very strong today!

"I can't blame my shoulder, I had expected it to be a bigger problem but in fact it was okay until six or seven laps from the end and by then the race was over for me.

"I knew it was important to finish and take the 20 points, it's a long championship and we are only nine points behind. Now I am looking forward to being back on top form for Mugello, my home race," he concluded.

Rossi, winner at round one in Qatar, is now nine points behind Lorenzo.

"Valentino's bike was sliding a little bit too much and he lost some contact when Lorenzo was leading, and by then it was sensible to go for second," stated team manager Davide Brivio. "There's only nine points between them and we are here and in touch in this exciting championship."

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I wonder if he wants to share data with Lorenzo now.