Valentino Rossi admitted he was disappointed to miss out on a victory in his home race at Misano but says he took extra satisfaction from beating MotoGP championship leader Marc Marquez.
Rossi led for much of the way until he was overhauled by the hard-charging Dani Pedrosa, eventually finishing in second place.
The Italian closed the deficit to Marquez at the top of the championship to 43 points with five races to go, with Marquez finishing fourth behind Jorge Lorenzo, who clinched the final spot on the rostrum.
Rossi, though, feels the gap to Marquez ensures the Repsol Honda rider remains the hot title favourite, but the 37-year-old was happy to finish the race in front of his younger rival.
“It's still too big, 43 points with five races to go, it's a big gap, but it's always a great feeling arriving in front of Marquez because he is very strong, very fast and to beat him in the race means you did a great race. I'm happy about my second part of the season until now; unfortunately I don't win but we have to keep going like this to the end.
“It was a good weekend and we worked well on the bike and we were able to improve. We did the right tyre choice for the race. It was a good start and I tried to overtake Lorenzo, to go in front. After, I pushed at the maximum and I understand that for sure it was not easy as always,” Rossi said.
“I have the pace to stay there but not to go away. It was very difficult, very demanding physically and when you are in front it is always more difficult. I was able to ride well and do 1'32.2 when I was alone in front, which was a very good pace. I saw that I can stay more or less with a one second advantage and control this pace. Lap by lap I was always more positive for the end,” added the Movistar Yamaha rider.
“After a while Pedrosa was faster and I tried to resist, but he arrived with me with seven laps to go, which is still a long way. I lost a bit of time when he overtook me and I tried to make another lap behind him at the maximum, but after it was not my pace – he was too strong, he was too fast.”
Rossi was desperate to win in front of his home fans but accepted nonetheless that it had been a 'very good' weekend overall.
“Anyway, if I'm not in Misano, I'm for sure very happy, but today it was more important than other times to arrive first, but I wasn't able at the end but it was a great race and a very good weekend.
“This weekend is always very demanding, very difficult and we need to organise everything better than in another place because everything becomes more difficult. But everything is repaid from the lap you do from the pit to the grid before the race and you see all the people around – it's a fantastic feeling that it also difficult to explain.”