Valentino Rossi says he and Ducati can take away many positives from the 2011 Czech Republic Grand Prix after one of his most convincing performances of the season at Brno.
The Italian has enjoyed a more consistent weekend aboard the GP11.1, qualifying in a season's best sixth and holding that position to the chequered flag.
Though it doesn't represent his best finish of the year, Rossi was satisfied to be finishing closer to those directly ahead, pointing out that if he hadn't backed off in the final laps, he'd have been within ten seconds of winner Casey Stoner.
Revealing that minor changes to the bike have made it easier to ride under braking and into the corners, Rossi says this sixth place is more important than other results.
“I'd say we can be pretty pleased, as we took a step forward. I must say that Filippo and Ducati has been intelligent, because just with some small changes, we were able to get a good result, improving in both wet and dry conditions and in both qualifying and the race. Now I'm able to ride the bike better under braking and on corner entry, and I can use the front tyre better.
“We started with the goal of fighting with the group ahead of us, but unfortunately we made a small mistake with the start procedure for heating the tyres and the first two laps were difficult, without enough grip. It's a lesson that we'll remember next time. I didn't have a great start like I did at Laguna, for example. That would have helped a lot, because from the third lap to the finish, I had the same pace as the two Yamahas, and even 'Sic' wasn't so far ahead.
“It's sixth place, but it's a sixth place that's much more important than our other results. The gap is much smaller, although I backed off in the final laps since there was nothing else I could do. Otherwise, I would've been just ten seconds from Stoner and much less than that from the podium. Now we must focus and take another step.”