Valentino Rossi led his 400th Grand Prix in the early stages at Phillip Island but was eventually shuffled back to eighth place and again blamed a lack of top speed for his woes.
Rossi surged into the lead and pulled a gap on the pack early doors but was slowly reeled in and passed. The Italian eventually finished 15s off the win but only a second off the podium, which he seemed to be happy with.
“Was a great start, very good way to celebrate my 400th grand prix, to stay a little bit in front. At the end, for sure, the result is not fantastic but I was not so far from Miller, who arrived on the podium,” said The Doctor.
“I was able to ride in a better way, I was more competitive compared to the last weekend. Anyway, we need more, we need to be stronger.
The problem is, every lap I lost one position in the straight. We are a big group but if I am not able to resist, or re-overtake during the lap, in the next lap the guy behind overtook me another time because I was for sure slowest in the straight of all the group.”
Rossi didn’t have the grip to try and re-take positions in the places where team-mate Maverick Vinales was stronger, so had to settle for a handful of points.
“Unfortunately in some places I was not strong enough every lap to recover. At the end I tried to ride smooth and not lose because I had other bikes behind.
“Here we found a good balance of the bike and in braking and inserting corners I was very well placed with the front,” he added.
“But we lacked a bit of grip at the rear, which is the theme of the second half of the season, which for the moment we can’t solve. We have to think about this and we have to try to improve.”
Rossi’s fastest speed through the gun was 211.6mph. Cal Crutchlow and Pecco Bagnaia reached 215 while the fastest Yamaha was Franco Morbidelli on 211.6. Vinales’ best was 208… read into that what you will.