MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi has said that losing his shot at winning his home race at Misano wasn’t as important as extending his points advantage.
Rossi finished fifth in the San Marino Grand Prix, having led the race until leaving his second pitstop too late which allowed three of those who had already switched back to their ‘dry’ bikes to jump ahead of him – along with Bradley Smith, who had stayed on slicks throughout.
But with title rival Jorge Lorenzo falling soon after he switched bikes, Rossi extends his lead from 12 to 23 points.
“It’s true that the championship is a lot more important that winning this race, it’s the main target,” said Rossi.
“Unfortunately, Jorge crashed and I was able to gain another 11 points. This is good for the championship, but it’s a shame to miss out on the podium, because I wanted to arrive in the top three in front of all the spectators.
“It was a crazy race and when you have to change the bike, in this case twice, you need luck and rapid thinking to understand the situation. Fifth is still a good result and we’re looking forward to the next race in Aragon.
“There are still five races left and unfortunately Lorenzo has the ability to win at every single one and [Marc] Marquez is also always strong, so there are still a lot of points left to fight for.”
Lorenzo dejected after crash
His Yamaha teammate Lorenzo crashed out of the race with just seven laps remaining, on his outlap after switching back to his ‘dry’ bike.
“Two races with bad luck in a row, because the circumstances were wet and abnormal,” rued Lorenzo, who emerged unscathed from his shunt despite initial worries about a swollen right hand and a bang to his head.
“In Silverstone I didn’t have the confidence, and here I didn’t have the pace to warm up the tyre well, so I entered the corner with slicks that were still cold and lost the rear.
“I think I’ve been unlucky this year in general, but especially these last two races, because I could have won both or finished second, but that’s racing.
“In previous years, my rivals in the championship crashed and this year it‘s me who’s unlucky, but all is not lost.
“If I win all the coming races I can still become the World Champion and it wouldn’t matter in what position Valentino would finish in.”