Valentino Rossi said he played all his cards in his efforts to snatch second place away from Dani Pedrosa as the pair went head to head on a sizzling final lap in the Aragon MotoGP.

With title rival and Movistar Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo clear at the front, Rossi was desperate to gain an extra four championship points with a runner-up finish, but in spite of throwing everything at the Repsol Honda of Pedrosa, the 36-year-old had to settle for third place in the end as Lorenzo reduced his championship lead by nine points to 14.

Rossi, magnanimous in defeat, said Pedrosa was the better rider on the day but hailed his own performance as his best ever ride at the Spanish track, where the Italian - bidding for a 10th world crown - could have conceded more ground in the title race had Marc Marquez not slid out of second place on lap two.

"I think when I lose a battle like this it is always a bad feeling from one point of view, but anyway I am happy because it is a good result, a good race for me today," Rossi said.

"I enjoyed it a lot, especially because I was stronger, I was quite fast and I can ride the bike in a good way. For sure it was the best race of my career in Aragon because it is always a difficult track and I wasn't strong enough to stay in front of Dani and at the same time he had a good pace.

"So I tried to stay with him and also when I tried to push a lot to fight at the end I played all the cards that I have - also one extra that I don't expect [final lunge at bus-stop chicane], but it was not enough," Rossi added.

"Simply, Dani was stronger than me today and it is a shame for the championship for sure because five points [gain for Lorenzo if Rossi had finished second] is important, but I tried and it wasn't enough."

Elaborating on the 'card he didn't expect' as he managed to attack Pedrosa again at the bus-stop chicane, Rossi added: "It's not the place for overtake but it was my last chance because if Dani was able to be in front from there, I don't have any other.

"So I tried and it was good and for one moment I thought that I can stay on the line, but unfortunately Dani overtook me another time but it was a great battle and I am very happy."

Rossi's best lap of the race was just 0.045s slower than Lorenzo's, also set on lap 2.

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