For the third race in succession, Alvaro Bautista finished just a few tenths of a second behind MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi, at Brno on Sunday.

After clashing at Mugello, and almost colliding when Bautista fell in Catalunya, their recent battles have been without incident and the Gresini Honda rider wasn't too disappointed to again be left in the Italian's wheel tracks.

The pair battled over third place at Laguna Seca, fourth at Indy - when Cal Crutchlow finished between them - and then fourth again in the Czech Republic.

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"Once again I had the chance to finish ahead of Rossi, but I ended up just 0.077 behind him at the line," said Bautista. "However, I am happy because we had a good race and ran a fast pace that was better than in practice.

"I had a lot more confidence in the bike today. It was a nice battle with Rossi and maybe he just had a little more than I did at the end.

"We're going in the right direction, continuing with what we started at Laguna Seca two races ago; this is very important. Last year we didn't have a great feeling at Brno, but this year we went well which confirms that things are getting better. We hope to continue like this."

Bautista is eighth in the world championship, just four points behind factory Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso.