Valentino Rossi claimed his best result for Ducati in Estoril yesterday but was denied fourth place by fellow Italian Andrea Dovizioso right at the end of the 28-lap Portuguese MotoGP race.
The 32-year-old had held fourth position right from the fourth corner of the race and he produced his best Ducati ride to date to prevent Dovizioso making one attack until metres from the finish line.
Rossi had a small slide exiting the fast last corner and Repsol Honda Dovizioso pounced to snatch fourth by just 0.025s.
The nine-times world champion was still satisfied with his performance after he found a solution to the front-end problems that had left him languishing down in ninth place on the grid.
Rossi, who is due to test a new chassis and engine on the GP11 in Portugal today, said: “Apart from losing fourth position with Dovi at the end I am happy about the performance and the race.
"First I am happy about my physical condition because I can ride quite normal until the end of the race. I am still not at 100 per cent because I have 15 per cent less power in the shoulder and after quite a lot of laps I had a problem with the left leg.
"When I lost a bit of power on the right shoulder, I try to hook my leg on the tank and the knee twists a little bit because I push on the inside and I start to have pain. But this is a problem that I can fix.
“We improved the setting on the bike compared to yesterday and this gave me a better feeling, especially with braking and entering the corner. I could push a lot and I did 20 times during the race the lap time of qualifying and this shows the setting is a lot better.
"I was happy with fourth place because it would have been my best result with the Ducati but Dovi was more faster and clever than me and he passed me right on the line.
"This finish line doesn’t bring me a lot of luck because also with (Toni) Elias in 2006 I lose the championship. I tried to be a bit faster and I had a slide and I had to roll off the throttle a bit and as soon as I did that Dovizioso overtook me."
For full coverage of the Estoril race, see Wednesday's MCN.