By Stephen English
Valentino Rossi was in contention for a podium finish in Sunday's wet French MotoGP, until he slid from his Factory Yamaha with ten laps to go.
The Italian had risen from eighth to third, then lost a place to Cal Crutchlow, but had set what would be the second fastest lap of the race shortly before his lowside fall.
"It's a pity because I had a good chance for a good result I think I had the potential for a podium," confirmed Rossi, whose accident forced a closely-following Nicky Hayden to run wide.
"I arrived at turn six and didn't arrive too fast or too wide, but I hit the bump with the brake and it's a great pity because we lose the chance for the podium. We lose some important points in the championship.
"Until that moment the race was very good. I did a good start and I have a good setting on the bike and could push. I was strong on braking and under acceleration was not so bad. The good thing is that until then [the crash] I had good speed and my performance was OK.
"I was strong and I enjoyed it but I made a mistake and the good result was thrown away."
Rossi, without a rostrum since round one in Qatar, remounted to finish in twelfth position on a damaged bike. Reflecting further on what might have been Rossi, who also struggled with a misting visor, said:
"[Race winner] Pedrosa was faster but made some mistakes, but together with Cal I had more or less the same pace. On the single lap I was as fast as him and the pace was the same. Cal was fast but I had two or three points where I was also not so bad and I think I could fight with him for second place."
When asked for his view on Andrea Dovizioso's impressive performance on the Ducati - Dovizioso led in the early stages and was running second at the time of Rossi's fall - Rossi commented that like last year the Ducati has good traction under acceleration.
Round five will be Rossi's home Italian Grand Prix at Mugello.