Movistar Yamaha's Valentino Rossi celebrated a return to the podium at Sepang as he strengthened his grip on second place in the MotoGP World Championship with one race to go.

Rossi enjoyed a spell at the front and was able to hang on to eventual winner Marc Marquez initially when the Repsol Honda rider took the lead on lap 11, but was unable to maintain the same pace on the final laps.

He held on for the runner-up spot ahead of team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, extending his advantage over the Spaniard to 12 points as the pair dispute second place in the standings.

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"It's been a long time since I arrived on the podium, since 2010 I think [with victory at Sepang] and I love this track and it was shame. Last year I remember it was very frustrating because I lost ten seconds on the top guy and this is one of my best tracks, but it is an important second place, especially for the championship," said Rossi, who qualified in sixth place for the race.

"We struggled a lot during the weekend for finding the right setting for the bike. I never was so strong in the practice and I wasn't able to ride at 100%, but we continued to work and this morning we improved the bike a lot.

"We modified the setting, especially the weight distribution, for the tyres. We lost in some places - precision and change of direction - but we made the bike love the tyres. This was the key.

"We made another step and the bike was fantastic in the race. I made a good start and had a great battle at the beginning with Jorge. After some laps I was a little bit stronger and I tried to go in front. I saw that Marc was fast but not incredible fast, so I thought that maybe I can win," he added.

"Also when he overtook me I could stay with him and I wanted to try to fight with him in the last laps but unfortunately I had to slow down a little bit and he was able to keep the same rhythm and he was stronger and won. But anyway, it was a great second place."

Rossi had taken his second win of the season one week earlier at Phillip Island, when Marquez fell from the lead while experimenting with different 'push-early' race tactics. "I preferred Marc's tactics at Phillip Island!" Rossi quipped on Sunday.

Looking ahead to the final round of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship at Valencia, Rossi said is aim remains to fight for the podium as he bids to nail down the runner-up spot behind Marquez.

"I have double the podiums from last year and double the victories from last year at this moment and especially now I am second in the championship; I have 12 points I think on Jorge but there's one to go," he said.

"In Valencia, I always struggle in my career, but my target is to fight for the podium and try to arrive competitive for the race."


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Sorry to see that the Yamaha, that improved really a lot was simply lacking topspeed on the ultra long straights. He had to fight back on the infield and lost just purely on blunt straight out Honda power.

In the end Rossi backed off sliding over the front. Lorenzo said he was not fit enough, but he was the only one on the hard tire. Seems to me like Rossi's got 2nd nailed.