Valentino Rossi had to settle for third place at Jerez after losing confidence with his Movistar Yamaha in the closing laps as he chased Marc Marquez, although the Italian rider was still able to seal a record 200th Grand Prix rostrum.

Rossi appeared to have Marquez's number as he closed to within 1.3 seconds of the Repsol Honda, but the reigning world champion had more in reserve and responded with a flourish of fast laps to nail down the runner-up spot behind Jorge Lorenzo.

"There was one moment in the race where I thought I could catch Marc, because I was riding well and had a good pace," said Rossi.

"But sincerely it was a difficult weekend for us. We were always fighting some problem. We improved for the race, but I knew that Jorge had a better pace than anybody.

"I thought I could stay with Marc. But unfortunately I was not strong enough in the first laps and I lost some time overtaking Pol [Espargaro]. After I pushed a lot, but in the last laps I didn't feel very confident with the bike," he added.

"I had to risk too much. I got to within one second of Marc, but I started to have some problems, some issues, so I thought it was too risky to try."

Rossi expects his team-mate to fight for the championship with Lorenzo apparently back to his best form after a low-key start to the season, but he was happy nonetheless to extend his lead at the top of the standings over Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso to 15 points.

"Anyway it is another podium, I have extended my leadership over Dovizioso - but it looks like after this weekend also Jorge is in the challenge for the championship," he said.

"He is just 20 points behind, but the championship is still long. We don't have to think about the points yet, just of the bike, trying to be competitive every weekend.

"Now we have to try to do the maximum to go faster, starting with the test tomorrow [in the test]."

Rossi revealed he thanked Marquez after the race for 'making it interesting', with the Honda giving the nine-time world champion a target to focus on.

"I said 'thank you' to Marc, because with him in front made the race easier. If not, alone, it would be very boring! I had his image in front of me," he said.

"I enjoyed it more because of this and it made the race more short."

Elaborating on the issues that troubled him over the weekend, Rossi said he was never truly in the groove at the Spanish circuit, with tyre problems in particular causing him trouble.

"We never found the perfect setting. Sincerely we tried something different on Friday and we lost some time. On the Saturday we improved a lot but it was not enough. It was always difficult during the weekend with the tyres," he said.

"For the rear I expected to race with the hard, which was a little bit better on paper, but unfortunately the hard did not have enough grip. It was too slow. So we had to use the soft.

"We worked also today and in the warm-up was not so bad, but I knew for the race it would be difficult."

Rossi's landmark podium is another milestone in his illustrious career and the veteran racer revealed he keeps his vast haul of silverware at more than one location.

"Some are in my house, some in the house of my mother, some [with] Graziano," said Rossi. "A little bit around!"



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