Valentino Rossi’s Mugello winning record came to an end on Sunday but he improved his results in flag-to-flag races.
Having never had great success before in flag-to-flag races and having crashed at Le Mans just after swapping bikes in the French wet-dry contest, Valentino Rossi was pleased with his relatively smooth showing at the Gran Premio d’Italia Alice on Sunday.
His remarkable winning run in front of his adoring Italian public logically had to come to an end at some stage and he was simply content to be on the podium alongside race-winner Casey Stoner and Fiat Yamaha colleague Jorge Lorenzo, as the three continue to jostle for supremacy in the 2009 title race.
Explaining how his race had panned out at Mugello, the World Champion said, “I have never been able to take a podium in one of these types of races before so it is the first time I have done it when we have had to change the bike. It was a good race for me especially as we found a good wet setting in just 20 minutes of warm up and I was strong in the first part.”
“I made a good decision on when to come in and change this time but unfortunately we decided to go with the harder front tyre for the second part of the race and that was a disadvantage for me, especially at the beginning. I was slow in the first two laps on slicks and I was thinking about the Le Mans crash. The front choice wasn’t right and even though I found a good pace it wasn’t enough to win.”
On avoiding allowing himself to be disappointed at the end of a sensational period of home dominance Rossi commented, “After seven victories in a row here it was just important to get on the podium for all the fans. The podium here in Mugello is always a great party and a great emotion even if we are not on the top step. The championship is very close, with the three of us separated by less than ten points, but it will be a long fight and we will try again in Barcelona next time out.”