Podium eludes Valentino Rossi in Sepang

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Valentino Rossi had to settle for yet another fourth position in punishing heat at the Sepang track in Malaysia yesterday (Sunday).

The Italian was optimistic of a podium challenge after he started from the front row of the grid for only the third time in 2013.

But for the seventh time in 15 races, Rossi would have to see the podium right in front of him but not attainable as he finished just over 10 seconds behind race winner Dani Pedrosa.

The 34-year-old had mixed emotions after the race though because he was disappointed not to have finished on the podium for the sixth time this season, but happy that he was only just over three seconds behind factory Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo.

Rossi said: “I am happy because we improved many things this weekend and I can be fast with a new tyre and I was second on the grid, whereas in the past three races qualifying was a problem.

"My fastest lap of the race was less than one tenth from the fastest one like in Aragon and Misano, which means I was strong at the beginning of the race. But in the second half of the race I suffered too much with the tyre.

"Also I had a problem with the front brake when I was behind the guys and this has happened a couple times this season.

"The front brake overheats and the bike is difficult to stop and with the top three guys so fast, this was difficult situation.

"I am happy because I was just three seconds behind Jorge, which means I rode well for the whole race. But I started on the first row and was hoping to arrive on the podium but unfortunately it is another fourth place.

"The Hondas were very strong and could use the tyre in a better way than us and could be more constant, so we have work with Yamaha.

"Jorge and I did a similar race and when we started to struggle with the tyre there was no way to stay with the Hondas.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt