Valentino Rossi came within 0.462s of claiming what would have been his 90th MotoGP victory at COTA on Sunday.

The Italian was handed the lead when Marc Marquez made his shock mistake on lap 9 and remained in front until four laps to go.

That was when Alex Rins - who had been shadowing the Italian - finally dived for the lead, Rossi crucially losing ground when he tried to swiftly retaliate under braking at the end of the back straight.

The Doctor dug deep, hunting down the Suzuki rider and was almost within striking distance as the pair entered the final corners.

Rins' team manager Davide Brivio was seen holding his head in his hands as it looked like Rossi might be able to launch one of his famous last turn attacks, but the Spaniard remained just out of reach.

"It's a mixed feeling," said Rossi, whose most recent win was at Assen 2017. "From one side, I’m very sorry because it's a long time that I don’t win, and today was a great opportunity.

"But on the other side, I’m happy because is a good race. I was strong also during the weekend and also last weekend in Argentina. These 20 points are very important for the championship, that is open, so it is more positive than negative.

"I tried to stay close to Marc [at the start] because I think that he would try to escape. I tried to ride well, stay close to him, but he was a bit faster than me. But anyway, I feel comfortable and I was good.

"After, when Marquez crashed, I was a little bit surprised sincerely and I think is a good opportunity to [win]. I tried to ride at the maximum, to ride smooth.

"Was a good race because we are fast. My problem is that Rins at the end was faster. He ride very well. He’s good in braking.

"I think that if I do everything perfect, I can attack him one time on the last lap, but unfortunately I did two mistakes in braking and I take a little bit of disadvantage. But anyway it remains a good race."

Marquez's error means Rossi is now second in the world championship and just three points behind new leader Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati).

"The championship is very interesting, especially after the mistake of Marquez," Rossi said. "You have four different riders and four different bikes in nine points.

"Now we go back to Europe. I love to race in Europe for sure because I know very well all the tracks.

"Jerez is very difficult. In the past in ‘17 and ‘18 was a disaster for us, for Yamaha. We were slow. So, it’s very interesting understand if this year we can be more competitive also there."

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