“We needed time. When I came back I was very, very happy about the bike but still not at 100 percent. The first race [Qatar] was a very good result for me, but after I struggled a lot. Especially I cannot ride how I want. I cannot use my style,” Rossi confirmed.
“But from the test in Aragon last week we made a good step. I feel more confident. I arrived here and was very fast in practice, very close to the top guys, and I feel good with the bike.
“We didn't change anything from the warm-up to the race, which hasn't happened since about 2002-2003!
“Before the race I thought 'today I have to try to win'. I thought today was my day because I had the pace, I am good with the bike, this morning I was first in the warm-up and also Jorge with his injury is not at 100 percent.”
Valentino Rossi: "Jorge is the real hero today"
Lorenzo, winner of three races this year, broke his collarbone during wet Thursday practice at Assen, underwent surgery in the early hours of Friday - then returned to race on Saturday! Rossi, seen chatting with his former arch-rival just before leaving the pit garage for the race, hailed the Spaniard's ride to fifth place.
“For me Jorge is the real hero today,” Rossi declared. “He made something not unbelievable, but close to unbelievable. When I understood he wanted to come back and race, I thought maybe I could not do that.
“To have surgery after a big crash and try to race at that level just one day later is something great.
“He took a risk, but he rode like normal in the first part of the race. Maybe these points will be very important for his championship. He has demonstrated to everybody that he wants to try to win more than 100%.”
As a result of his efforts, Lorenzo is just nine points behind Pedrosa and the championship lead. Rossi is now fifth in the standings, two points behind Tech 3 Yamaha rider Crutchlow.
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