Valentino Rossi says he is unhappy to have missed out on the chance of a podium finish in Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix, but was content with the relatively small gap between himself and Ducati.
The Italian rider finished just behind Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo in fourth place at the Red Bull Ring, as Ducati ended its long MotoGP victory drought with a one-two for riders Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso.
Despite tailing Lorenzo for much of the race after the frantic early exchanges, Rossi was never in a position to try and overtake, later admitting that any such attempt would have been too risky.
But he said he could take satisfaction with finishing relatively close behind the dominant factory Ducati duo.
“At the end, I'm not happy with fourth place, because my target was to arrive on the podium,” said Rossi on Sunday.
“But the weekend, especially the race, was quite good. I had just three seconds from the victory and not so far from Ducati.
"The great shame, personally, is that Lorenzo arrived in front, because he was faster.
“Also, the shame is that we didn't fight - I wanted to try and make some overtakes, but the conditions in the race were difficult for everybody, difficult to stop in braking and also difficult to exit from the corner.
“I had to risk too much if I want to try and overtake. Every time I try to go closer, I did some mistakes – in the end I arrived just fourth.”
Gap to Marquez reduced
Asked if he was at least satisfied to have at least finished ahead of points leader Marquez in Austria, Rossi quipped: “I'm very happy, because I recovered two points, so if we have 100 races, I can win the championship!
“Apart from jokes, it's good to arrive in front of Marquez and we have to try to continue like this. For sure, in other tracks, the situation will change, but we have to try to stay always fast and take as many points as possible.
“It’s difficult to win a lot of points over Marquez, but the championship is very long so we have to try for maximum, also for second place [in the standings].”
Rossi remains third in the championship standings on 124 points with eight races remaining, 14 behind Lorenzo and 57 behind Marquez.
Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont