MotoGP championship leader Valentino Rossi went from being 'very worried' after warm-up at Le Mans to celebrating second place in the race.

"I'm so happy because we were struggling too much during the practice," said Rossi.

The source of the Italian's problems could be traced back to rain just before Saturday's final practice. That prevented Rossi trying a new set-up on his M1 until the short 15-minute qualifying, when he felt it was a step in the right direction despite only managing seventh on the grid.

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But Sunday's warm-up proved otherwise, with Rossi again just seventh fastest.

"This morning in the warm-up we had some modification on the bike that I expect would give me a better pace," the Italian said after the race. "But I wasn't fast enough. I had more than half-a-second gap to Marc and Jorge and I start to be very worried. I think it's very difficult to get the podium, because also Andrea [Dovizioso] was faster than me on the pace.

"So we decide to gamble and to risk a bit and it was the right decision, because my bike in the race was fantastic. I enjoy a lot. I can overtake and I can ride at the maximum."

Although naturally cagey about the precise changes, Rossi did reveal they were based around improving the balance of his bike for acceleration and braking while helping sustain the rear tyre.

Fifth on the opening lap, Rossi overtook reigning champion Marc Marquez on lap 3 of 28, continuing his march up the order with passes on Ducati riders Andrea Iannone and Dovizioso.

That put Rossi into second, 1.8s behind Movistar Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo.

"I was behind Jorge, I wasn't so far, so I try the maximum, but he was in the very good condition, in his 'martillo', his 'hammer' time, and when he is like this it is very difficult to go like him," Rossi said.

"Anyway I am happy, first because 20 points are very important for the championship but also because we arrived late, but we arrived, and it is another very good race. We are struggling in practice, but I think it is also our bike a little bit.

"To do one lap very fast is our weak point but on the other side, in the race, our bike is always fantastic, it is always so balanced, you can push and this is so important."

Next up is Rossi's home round at Mugello, where the Italian will be chasing his first victory since 2008.

"To arrive in Mugello in this condition make me very happy. The problem is also that it is [Jorge's] favourite track! But great result for the team today, a Yamaha one-two, and we hope in Mugello to make the other order!"

Rossi is 15-points clear of Lorenzo after five of 18 rounds, both having taken two wins so far this year.

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Some people haven't seen the race in Qatar or Argentina?
Rossi's strongest point is that he can make up ground, he doesn't need a pole to win the race. And the "gamble" is put out of proportion Galbusera and Rossi know exactly what they are doing or let's say Rossi knows bloody well how the bike reacts when certain changes are made. Rossi has been on the podium every single race so far and he's stronger near the end of the race. In a one on one battle he would have won, Rossi overtaking Dovi before the chicane was a masterclass. The only thing that isn't right is the qualifying sessions, they suck.