Valentino Rossi fought back from dead last to eighth place after a costly first lap error in yesterday’s Motorland Aragon MotoGP race.
The Italian had to run off the track in the braking zone at the final corner on the opening lap after he almost tangled with British rider Jonathan Rea.
The close call dropped Rossi to the back of the field and he recovered to finish in a lonely and distant eighth.
Rossi said: “It’s a shame about the mistake on the first lap. I was a bit faster than Rea, and when we spread out on the straightaway, and he braked a bit earlier, I went to the right. He couldn’t see me and pushed me close to the kerb, and I went straight to avoid him.
"I should have gone to the inside, not the outside. Without that incident, I think I could have fought with Bautista for sixth place. This is nothing fantastic but it is our best potential at this track.”
One positive for the nine-times world champion was that like in Misano when he scored his best dry race result on board a Desmosedici machine with second, his lap times remained fast and consistent throughout.
A new chassis and swingarm first used in Misano has helped prolong tyre life and Rossi added: “We made some set-up changes that helped me save the tyre to the end. I could stay with a good rhythm until the end of the race.
"It is difficult to say this problem is solved but we are optimistic because here and Misano I can take my pace to the last lap. This track is one of the more difficult for us out of the last five.
"It looks like the new stuff works in a better way and we are also optimistic because this track is one of the worst for the rear and I could stay constant."
Of the four races left on the schedule, Rossi said his best hope of success would likely come next time out at the Twin Ring Motegi in Japan.
He said: “If we look at last year Motegi was not so bad. Australia I hope not so bad and also Valencia last year the Ducati was not so bad apart that I don't finish the first lap because of the crash."
Rossi though admitted that bridging the gap to dominant Spanish duo Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo was a far-fetched notion.
He added: "Lorenzo and Pedrosa are now in great shape and did 49.1 and not just because the factory Honda and Yamaha are better but also because they ride better than me.
"They are in better shape. But if you compare the distance between my lap time and the lap time of (Stefan) Bradl or those that make 50.0 like Cal (Crutchlow), (Ben) Spies and (Andrea) Dovizioso, I think more or less I am about the same but it is difficult to say."
For extensive coverage from the Motorland Aragon MotoGP round, see the October 3 issue of MCN.