By Stephen English
After finishing third the US MotoGP at Laguna Seca, Valentino Rossi
was in good spirits as he reflected on the opening half of his Yamaha comeback season.
Sunday's race marked the Italian's third consecutive podium, but Rossi confirmed that the Laguna Seca result felt very different to the third place he had achieved just one week earlier in Germany.
"This podium is a lot more important, and makes me a lot more happy, compared to Sachsenring," said Rossi, who finished as the top Yamaha rider. "In Sachsenring I think I could have had a better performance, but here we worked well as a team and fought for the race and the bike was OK.
“This track looks like we suffer a bit compared to Honda. We are a bit slower on the Yamaha and staying close to Bradl and ahead of Bautista is a good result. Also the distance to Marc [4.5s] was not a lot and with a better setting I could have gone with a good pace to the end."
Rossi admitted that the race was a challenge throughout, but also complained about the lack of blue flags, which he felt played a role in keeping his fight with Alvaro Bautista so close. Rossi crossed the line just 0.059s ahead of the Gresini rider.
"It was a long race, especially with Bautista behind. I had a lot of problems with slow riders and no blue flags and Alvaro came back to me, but it's my third podium in a row so I am happy,” he said.
The result has moved Rossi ahead of Cal Crutchlow and into fourth place in the world championship
“I am quite satisfied, especially with the last four races. First of all because I came back with a victory at Assen, I'm so proud, but four podiums so far this year and a good score is good - also in qualifying I have been able to get faster. To win again we need to make another step with the bike, but I'm so happy."