Valentino Rossi was more than satisfied with his podium position at Indianapolis on Saturday, even though the result meant his lead over Jorge Lorenzo was cut to nine points.
Having started on eighth place on the grid, the seven-time MotoGP champion found himself up to fourth place on the first lap, but with Yamaha team-mate Lorenzo making his way past the Honda duo of Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, Rossi’s lead looked set to be cut to just one point.
On the final lap, though, Rossi found his way past Pedrosa, while Marquez had passed Lorenzo two laps earlier, meaning Rossi’s lead became a substantial one once more, with eight races in the championship to go.
"For a lot laps Jorge was in front of Marc and I was behind Dani so I could lose more points than this, but looking from practice already fourth was not so bad!" Rossi admitted after the race.
"But I felt good. We improved the setting this morning and I knew I can have a good pace. I saw that Dani tried to go with Marc and Jorge but he had some points on the track where he wasn't strong enough.
"I knew that these three points [for third] were a lot more important for me than him. I gave the maximum and caught him but after it was difficult, also physically, but I had pushed the tyres a lot and when I arrive with Dani I was in a bit in trouble.
"I tried two or three times to get away, but always Dani came back. The last time I try it was impossible and it was the last lap. Fortunately I had two or three points on the track where I could attack him.
"It was a hard battle. I enjoy. It is another podium. This is so important because was a difficult weekend where Jorge and Marc are always stronger than me. So losing just nine [Marquez] and four points [Lorenzo] is not so bad."
Considering Honda had won the last six races at the iconic American track, Rossi wasn’t exactly surprised by Marquez’s performance, but added that he needs to keep working on his performances during qualifying after qualifying in eighth for the third time this season.
"We know that here in Indianapolis we have to suffer, but we hope to suffer less, especially in practice. Because if I am able to start in the second row everything is more easy. So we have to work because this is my weak point," the Italian continued.
"We started from too far [back] on Friday. Because afterwards on Saturday we were able to find a good balance and this morning we made another step.
"Sincerely my bike in the race was good. I was able to do a lot of laps in '32.8s, which is a pace which was impossible during the practice."