Two riders were perfectly matched in terms of the fastest race lap by a Yamaha during Sunday's German MotoGP.

But neither of them was podium finisher Fabio Quartararo.

Instead, it was Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales who set the best lap by a M1, both exactly 0.344s behind KTM's runner-up Miguel Oliveira, yet the pair could only finish the race in 14th and 19th respectively.

"The warm-up was good, I had good grip and a good lap time from the beginning to the end and I enjoy also. So we started optimistic for the race, but in the race everything was a bit more difficult," explained Rossi.

"I needed a good start but I did a bad start, so I was stuck in the traffic. And it was very difficult to overtake.

"At the end when I had free track in front of me, I did good lap times. I did '22.0 in the race and it's a good lap time, I am 'inline' with the top guys. This is good. But I have always to fight, always some traffic, so it was not easy.

"At the end, in the last laps, my pace was quite bad. I had to slow down because I had a bit too much sliding. So I finished 14th, we take some points but we expect to do a bit better."

While Rossi joined Vinales and Morbidelli (18th) in pointing to overtaking struggles for the miserable results, the difference between the trio and Quartararo – 15-seconds ahead of Rossi – was harder to pinpoint.

Quartararo began the race from second on the grid, but soon dropped to sixth. It was only when the Frenchman fought his way back up to third, with 10 laps remaining, that he finally gained some 'clear air' to the riders ahead. Nonetheless, Quartararo only set the tenth best lap of the race.

It’s not clear exactly how, but Rossi acknowledged that Quartararo has found a way to manage the Yamaha problem of riding in a group, aided by starting nearer to the front.

"Today also Franco and Maverick struggled very much and we are in a difficult condition with the Yamaha because if you don’t start in front and you are behind it's very difficult," said Rossi.

"Because behind the other bikes we have to ride in a bit different way so we cannot use the good things of our bike and we suffer very much also because in the straight we are very slow.

"I think more-or-less all the bikes are faster than us, so at the end to overtake you have to arrive at the braking very close, because now we brake very deep, but we always lose in the straight.

"So more than trying to overtake, you have to hope that the guy behind you don’t overtake you. So it's difficult. Also I think this track is not the best and not easy.

"On the other side, Quartararo is fast, he did a very good weekend, very good race. I think that his performance is quite impressive this year and he's at the top of the championship.

"So I think he's able to manage this problem. Also because he's able to start in front more-or-less everywhere."

The nine time world champion, set to announce his 2022 plans during the summer break, doesn't know of any new parts in the immediate pipeline and therefore it's down to the riders and their teams to find solutions.

"I think that the bike is this for this year. The next test is Misano, maybe Misano we can have something new. But you have to manage, you have to try the best, work well and depends also from the tracks," he said.

"Some will be better, some more difficult. But I think more-or-less our package is that, but we need to work to improve… But I don’t have big ideas!"

Next up is Assen, where Rossi took his most recent MotoGP victory in 2017.

"I'm very happy to race in Assen because it’s a great place, I love the track naturally. But it will be very difficult for sure because everybody is very strong and fast and we need to work well from Friday. We hope for good weather.

"On paper, the track is better for Yamaha. So we will see."

Rossi is 19th in the world championship, with 17 points.