Valentino Rossi took his 228th podium with a third place on Sunday night, having come through from the third row. The veteran Italian, with a new two-year deal secured with Yamaha, came through from 8th on the grid and challenged for the lead the whole way through the race.
It is the fifth time in six seasons that Valentino has been on the podium for Yamaha at Losail, whilst also being his 10th podium at the circuit. ‘The Doctor’ was just 0.797 off the victory and was top Yamaha, something that didn’t look so clear after a turbulent testing schedule pre-season.
“It was a great fight and a great race. Sincerely, last year it was a bigger surprise to me – it was less expected then to arrive on the podium. With the bike from this year I feel good,” said the Italian.
“This time I was more competitive and I knew I could do a good race, but you never know if it’s enough for the podium because we were with ten strong riders. I tried to push from the beginning, because I started from the third row and on the first lap I was able to overtake some guys.
“The other key point were the final laps, when like last year the strongest on the track were Dovizioso and Marquez. I knew they had enough to change the rhythm, but I’m very happy that I could go with them today and arrive at the finish line close to them, at the end. Unfortunately, it was not enough for the victory, but the podium is a great way to start.”
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