Valentino Rossi says he was wondering whether he had done the right thing by committing to a 2021 MotoGP World Championship contract following a disappointing start to the season, only to hit back with a run to the podium at the very same circuit just a week later.

His most convincing race day display in well over a year when he last stepped on the MotoGP podium in Argentina and the USA, Rossi qualified up the order in fourth position before keeping himself at the sharp end from start-to-finish.

While he gained a position from Pecco Bagnaia’s premature exit, the 41-year old couldn’t quite resist Vinales’ late charge back up the order to leave him third as Yamaha locked out the podium spots.

Bringing Rossi’s career grand prix podium tally to a staggering 199, the Italian was pleased to be making a long-awaited breakthrough, not least because he began reviewing the decisions made on his future because he wouldn’t to be that uncompetitive in 2020 and 2021.

“The podium is really special because we were coming from last week’s bad weekend,” he said. “But it was not just last week, it was the majority of 2019 apart from the two podiums at the beginning of the season. I always have the same problem - sometimes its better but I did some bad races [too].

“So we worked together as a team because we needed something different and we needed to push Yamaha a lot too but it is not easy. At the end we don’t give up and on Friday morning we tried something different and already from lap three I feel better, it’s a better bike, better position in the corneer… something more for my style.

“We had a lot of work to do, over the weekend we improved the bike and this game is difficult because so many riders are so fast.

“Last week the result was too bad for it to be real all season. Also, because it’s as if I am old so I said ‘not like this’ and it is better, this track in Jerez is a track that I love but after the win in 2016 in the years I have always suffered and made bad races. So to make a podium with a good race and 60 degrees on the ground, it means we are in the good way and we can be competitive in Brno

“It was very bad for everybody on my side because after the races like last week, but also like Valencia and Aragon when I arrive very bad, we are looking at our faces and we don’t have the words. Maybe it is the time to stay at home…

Because we’d already taken the decision to race next year, I was also a bit worried because I am not a fan when I ride the bike. It’s very frustrating because I have had a problem for a long time.

“It is a hard game, you need to train a lot so you can give time to be competitive but it is good if you enjoy the track so this podium is for all of my team. “

Since it’s been a while since we’ve seen Rossi on the podium, he didn’t waste the opportunity to echo one of his most memorable celebrations – when he ‘used’ the portaloo at the side of the circuit – by revisiting that spot before cheering in front of the spectator-less crowds.

“That’s the place with the toilet, where I have celebrated in the past, so I want to say ciao and give a hug to everyone at home, it was very strange to see it all empty but it was a lot of fun .”

 

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