Valentino Rossi lost the MotoGP World Championship lead after a distant third place in Sunday's Czech Republic Grand Prix.

First in the standings since round one in Qatar, Rossi has finally been caught by Brno winning team-mate Jorge Lorenzo.

While both Yamaha riders have 211 points, a superior 5-3 win tally for Lorenzo means the Spaniard is now officially classified at the head of the standings.

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"It is unbelievable that after eleven races we have equal points, so it means that it will be - and is already - a great fight," said Rossi. "Jorge after the summer break came back in great shape. Two fantastic races, also in Indy where he fought with Marc until the last lap.

"To arrive in Valencia and fight with him for the championship we have to work to be stronger and try to go faster.

"The difference [between us] is coming from the speed that you can achieve, especially on Sunday, and usually Jorge is always very, very fast in all conditions. We have to work hard to improve for try to fight until the end."

After qualifying on the front row for only the second time this season, a poor start left Rossi in fifth place while Lorenzo and Marc Marquez broke clear at the front.

Riding at the venue where he claimed his very first grand prix win in 1996, the Italian simply didn't have the pace to threaten Lorenzo or Marquez. Rossi finished a demoralising ten-seconds from his team-mate and six-seconds behind the Honda of Marquez.

"A little bit disappointed, especially because I expect a better pace from me," Rossi confessed. "I know with Jorge it is difficult because all the weekend he was very strong. But I expected more, hoped to stay closer to Jorge and fight with Marc, also because it is a lot more fun.

"But unfortunately it didn't happen. I was too far behind. For sure the start the start was not fantastic, but more than the start I had no rhythm. I wasn't fast enough and for some reason I wasn't able to make the pace of yesterday.

Rossi was at a loss to explain why he had struggled so much.

"Yesterday we found a good setting and we have the question mark with the tyres, but I decide for the hard [front and rear] simply because during practice I feel better with the bike. But we don't modify a lot [for the race].

"Now we have to check the data and try to understand because I expect to be 3-4 tenths faster, especially in the first part of the race. For some reason today it was impossible."

Looking ahead to what will now effectively be a seven-round world championship between the M1 riders, Rossi said his immediate focus is simply on the next event at Silverstone.

"Every year is different, but on paper I think there are more tracks where Jorge is stronger than me. But have also some tracks where we are very equal," he began. "But this is not the way to think, the way to think is just try to understand the way to go faster in Silverstone and then after see for the next race.

"This is the way. Step-by-step. Weekend-by-weekend. Try to be ready under all conditions because for sure Silverstone is difficult. Always in the past I'm struggling but last year was a little bit better, even if always Jorge is very strong there from the very first year of the MotoGP race."

Rossi is chasing his eighth MotoGP title and Lorenzo his third. Reigning champion Marquez is currently 52 points behind the Yamaha duo.


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I think it's time Rossi buckles down and grabs this championship by the horns. He's played safe all season. The fact that he's only fell once this season is proof that he's been taking a safe, systematic approach to the season. I think his lower positions during qualifying is a result of him being "safer". It's also proof that he wants to stay healthy to play the long game. He really wants this championship and I can see it in all of this. Nothing wrong with not wanting to risk your life at every corner. Problem with Rossi's approach is the two guys in front of him are hanging it all out there to win. Rossi will have to do it too. I honestly don't think for one second that Lorenzo or Marquez can beat Rossi when he is truly focused and not worrying about the tires lasting, falling etc. The Rossi of the past hasn't went anywhere. He's the same vicious beast on a motorcycle. Even at 36 years old. I truly hope he resurfaces from the next race on.