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Valentino Rossi: Third in MotoGP championship is a miracle

Valentino Rossi says his third place in the current MotoGP standings is "miraculous" given Yamaha's recent struggles

Rossi is winless since last year's Assen race 14-and-a-half months ago and finished a disappointing seventh last time out at Misano, but remains third in the championship - albeit 70 points down on runaway leader Marc Marquez.

Riders' standings

Pos Rider Points
1 Marc Marquez 221
2 Andrea Dovizioso 154
3 Valentino Rossi 151
4 Jorge Lorenzo 130
5 Maverick Vinales 124

Asked whether it was frustrating that his title hopes were already as good as gone with six races left in the campaign, Rossi said: "Yeah, but you have to stay concentrated and give the maximum because in the championship I am miraculously third.

"Sincerely I don't understand in which way I can be third."

He admitted it would be "very difficult to stay in third" but was encouraged by being just three points behind San Marino Grand Prix winner Andrea Dovizioso and ahead of both three-time 2018 race-winner Jorge Lorenzo and his own Yamaha team-mate Maverick Vinales.

"In the championship point of view, we have an important result to catch," Rossi added.

Misano has been a strong venue for Rossi and Yamaha in the past, which added to his disappointment at finishing 19 seconds behind race winner Dovizioso.

"It was a very big shame to not be competitive in Misano in front of all the people in the crowd," he said.

He said he had been "worried for the race but quite optimistic" and ultimately "expected to be a bit stronger" having felt competitive in Saturday's fourth practice session - when riders focus on race preparation and which had similar conditions to Sunday afternoon.

"But already from half of the first lap I understood that it's not the same," said Rossi of his actual race pace, which he suggested was "close to one second slower" than he had been running on Saturday.

Team-mate Vinales, who finished three seconds ahead of Rossi in fifth in Italy, was also confused about why his strong practice pace did not transfer to the race.

"After FP4 my feelings were really good. I rode quite easily in 1m32s in FP4, but in the race it was a totally opposite feeling," said Vinales.

Asked whether he had got to the bottom of his recurring lack of early-race pace, Vinales said: "I think when the grip level on the bike will be good, I will push from the first corner.

"[At Misano] I tried it but already from the second corner I nearly made a high-side.

"I know where is the level of the grip. [Alex] Rins and Cal [Crutchlow] overtook me like I was stopped in the corner. And [qualifying] was the opposite.

"So, honestly, I didn't understand why, but it's like this.

"In the races we cannot be as competitive as in FP4, or qualifying, or even FP1."

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