Valentino Rossi declared himself satisfied with his first dry weather top six finish of 2012 in yesterday’s German Grand Prix, but the Italian was still almost a second a lap slower than race winner Dani Pedrosa.
Rossi was content to sit in 10th at the back of a large battle involving Stefan Bradl, Hector Barbera and team-mate Nicky Hayden for much of the race before mounting a late attack into the top six.
He passed Hayden and Barbera and was lining up a last lap move on Bradl for fifth but couldn’t attack because yellow flags were being waved after Casey Stoner’s costly late blunder.
Rossi, who was 28 seconds adrift of Pedrosa's Repsol Honda, told MCN: “This was the best result of this year on a dry track so at the end it was not so bad.
"I was in the group and I didn't have the pace to go alone so I decided to stay behind because always there was a big fight, especially with Barbera but at the end I tried some overtakes.
"I had saved some tyre to use, but unfortunately on the last corner I was attacking Bradl but there was the yellow flag for the crash of Stoner, so I have to slow down. If not, maybe I can overtake.”
Rossi’s result was largely down to a change in the set-up of his factory Ducati GP12 to prolong rear tyre life, which has been a major weakness of this year’s Desmosedici.
The 33-year-old reverted back to a set-up used prior to Silverstone and Assen and he added: “We made an important step with the setting because at the last two races we used a different setting but we finished the rear tyre after three laps.
"At Silverstone and Assen my performance was very bad because after three or four laps I did not have any rear grip. It was difficult to stop the bike and I slide very much.
"The story is that we arrived to this set-up in Portugal and with this set-up I did my best races but we wanted to make it better. So Ducati tried to understand and give to us this different setting that Nicky uses and Nicky likes.
"I have tried to use it but after three laps the rear tyre is finished. We decided to go back and this setting I can go faster but more important stay constant until the end of the race.
"Unfortunately the distance to the Hondas is huge because in the last two races the Hondas did a great step.”
For nine pages of coverage from Sachsenring’s German MotoGP, see the July 11 issue of Motor Cycle News.