After qualifying just 17th on the grid, improvements in braking and a switch to the hard rear tyre allowed Valentino Rossi to reach the edge of the top ten by the midway stage of Sunday's Portimao MotoGP.

Rossi had been moving through the field with Alex Marquez but took longer than the LCR Honda rider to pass his brother Luca Marini.

Then, just a lap after completing the pass, Rossi lost the front of his M1 into Turn 11 and crashed out, meaning no points for the second time in a row after 16th place in the Doha race.

"In the race I was better because we improved the setting for the braking and especially after this morning we decided to use the hard rear tyre," Rossi explained. "I felt a lot better – better feeling, better stability especially on the right and better grip in acceleration.

"This also made me faster in the Sector 4. So these were the main modifications. And my pace was not too bad

"Unfortunately, when you start from behind, it's always difficult, and after I did one mistake in Turn 1, I lost a bit of time overtaking Luca.

"I had to be more and more aggressive with my brother, because at that moment I was faster, I had been behind Alex Márquez, so more or less we had the same pace.

"But I lost one and a half laps to overtake Luca. It's a strange feeling, overtaking a VR46 bike, but especially overtaking my brother!

"Then I could have arrived in the top 10 but unfortunately I lost the front into turn 11.

"That corner is very demanding for the front tyre, and we raced with the medium front, and today was very hot, so on the right, the tyre suffered a bit. So I arrived as normal, but I lost the front. I haven't seen the data.

"It's a shame because we can take some points, but anyway, it remained a decent race until that moment and I'm very sorry about the mistake."

Had Rossi reached the flag he was on course for his best result of the season, beating the twelfth place in Qatar, but does he also think the late Portimao progress will carry over to Jerez?

"It will depend very much on the tyres, as always," he said. "Here we can use the hard tyre, and with the hard tyre I am able to be faster. The race at the end was not so bad given the position that I started, and my pace was a lot better that yesterday. So I am more confident."

The race was won by Monster Yamaha's Fabio Quartararo, whose team-mate Maverick Vinales eventually finished in the position Rossi had fallen from (11th).

Rossi's Petronas team-mate Franco Morbidelli took fourth place on the A-Spec machine.

 

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