Valentino Rossi says his Australian MotoGP performance failed to reach his own expectations finishing an underwhelming sixth place, while he accepts Maverick Vinales’ riding style was key to breaking the Japanese manufacturers’ winless stretch.

With Vinales storming to victory at Phillip Island – Yamaha’s first MotoGP win since Rossi’s triumph at Assen last year – the Italian rider cut a downbeat figure as he toiled to sixth place after being involved in the front group fights throughout the race against his team-mate and both factory Ducati and Suzuki riders.

Valentino Rossi - 5000 points

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While he was pleased to see Yamaha’s win drought ended he says the same problems remain which restrained his charge at the Australian circuit as he suffered with spinning his rear tyre due to a lack of grip and traction.

“It is a good day for Yamaha because it was a long, long time that Yamaha didn’t win so this is positive but we need to continue to work,” Rossi said. “From my side I have had a lot of times on these types of problems so we need to understand why and understand the way to improve.

“I felt good already with the hard tyre from yesterday and I was more worried about the front, also this morning. But also from warm-up I had less grip from the rear and I already was sliding a lot so I tried to ride gentle and smooth but unfortunately in the last two laps I was in too much trouble.”

Rossi puts his Spanish team-mate’s advantage down to his riding style which combat Yamaha’s ongoing problem and is now bracing for a late attack from Vinales to keep hold of third place in the riders’ standings.

“In general the two bikes are not very different,” he said. “We have some differences because our style is a bit different but the problem is under acceleration we spin a bit too much but Maverick is able to have more drive.

“Even if he spins he accelerates, especially this weekend as he always arrived very well and is able to have less problems. We tried but sincerely I didn’t expect it, I expected to be stronger.

“Today for the championship it is quite bad for me because I lose points on Dovi and especially I lose points on Maverick and he is not so far so I think instead of the battle for second I think the battle will be for third place.”

Rossi remains third in the MotoGP riders’ championship but has fallen 15 points behind Dovizioso while Vinales has closed up to the same margin in fourth place.



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