Rossi delighted to turn weekend around
|By Michele Lostia and Matt Beer||Sunday, November 8th 2009, 15:45 GMT|
Valentino Rossi was overjoyed with second place at Valencia as he had been off the pace throughout the race build-up.
The world champion had trailed usual rivals Casey Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa for most of practice and qualifying, but was able to beat Yamaha team-mate Lorenzo to second and kept Pedrosa in sight for much of the grand prix.
"I'm so happy with the result, especially because we were struggling so much during practice," said Rossi. "This morning in the warm-up we found a good setting for our M1 and it was a great race."
He admitted that he had begun to think of victory when the hitherto dominant Stoner fell on the formation lap, but Pedrosa made a crucial early break.
"When I saw Stoner down I thought we could win this, but Dani was better with cold tyres," Rossi told Italia1.
"Unfortunately I lost too much time, I was overtaken by [Toni] Elias and by Jorge. In my opinion, had we started together, I could have stayed with [Pedrosa], because I was quick until the end."
Although the race was static at the front once Rossi had passed Lorenzo, the Italian said it had remained a tense contest.
"I enjoyed it a lot," said Rossi. "It was a great, great race, so difficult and a great battle from a distance with Dani. I tried to catch him but it was not possible in the end. Jorge came back very strongly and I had to push at the maximum to the end."
He was also pleased to have recorded his best result at Valencia since winning there in 2004. In recent years Rossi has struggled at the Spanish track - only qualifying 10th last year (although he recovered to third in the race), retiring with an engine failure while struggling in the midfield with a broken hand in 2007, and most famously crashing out in 2006 and handing the title to Nicky Hayden.
"I'm so happy because this time we were competitive here at Valencia," said Rossi. "We've closed the season with another podium and some good points, so I have to thank Yamaha for everything this season."