Valentino Rossi claimed his best dry result of the 2012 MotoGP season with sixth place in Sunday's German Grand Prix at Sachsenring.
That would have been seventh if Casey Stoner hadn't fallen at the penultimate turn, but Rossi backed out of a planned pass on Stefan Bradl as a result of the yellow flags caused by Stoner's fall.
“When I was almost next to Bradl, they gave us the yellow flag for Stoner's crash, and I backed off because anyway, I would have had to let him back by,” said Rossi.
Bradl led a train of six riders cover by just over one-second at the finish and Rossi, being unable to break away from the pack earlier in the race, had made winning that fight his main priority.
“When I realised that I didn't have the pace to escape the group I was in, I waited for the right moment to attack, and in the end, I was able to pass almost all of them,” he explained.
Rossi had been in tenth place with five laps to go, when he began to move through the group. The Italian credited a faster, but more difficult set-up that avoided the rear tyre problems he has suffered in recent rounds.
“This weekend we decided to work on a setting that was similar to the one we used at Barcelona and Estoril, in order to suffer less with the rear tyre,” he said.
“Although we weren't able to try it much in the dry, it turned out to be pretty effective. It allowed me to have a pace that was consistent and pretty fast until the end.
“The bike is a little more difficult to ride, but at least I'm able to brake hard and to ride at a good pace until the end.
“I was sixth, our best result in the dry this year, so now we'll continue in this direction.”
Rossi crossed the line 28-seconds from race winner Dani Pedrosa, but within eight seconds of the battle for the final podium place between Yamaha riders Andrea Dovizioso and Ben Spies.
“The gap to the Hondas is large, but the Yamahas were closer today,” said Rossi.
Rossi, second in the wet at Le Mans, now heads straight for his and Ducati's home Italian Grand Prix at Mugello this weekend. The seven time MotoGP champion is currently sixth in the world championship.