Valentino Rossi scored a fifth podium of 2013 in yesterday’s Motorland Aragon MotoGP clash in Spain to avoid creating an unwanted slice of history for himself.
With dominant Spanish trio Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez streaking away in the early stages of the 23-lap race, Rossi was once again stuck in fourth and locked in a battle with Alvaro Bautista, Stefan Bradl and Cal Crutchlow.
Had Rossi remained in fourth then he would have become the first rider in MotoGP history to finish in that position for five races in succession.
Pedrosa’s shocking bad luck, when a rear wheel speed sensor got damaged in a minor collision with Repsol Honda teammate Marquez to render his traction control useless, put the Spaniard out of the race and out of serious championship contention to move Rossi into third.
The 34-year-old though had to fight right to the chequered flag to prevent himself from claiming yet another fourth and while happy to have secured his first podium since he was third in Laguna Seca back in July, he blamed his hard Bridgestone front tyre selection for his failure to mount a stronger challenge.
Lorenzo and Marquez both opted to run the soft compound front tyre and while not disputing the outcome probably being no different, Rossi said he might have been more competitive and had a more comfortable ride to third spot.
The nine-times world champion had been boosted by topping the timesheets in the pre-race warm-up session but he never threatened a repeat of his Assen victory in late June and he said: “It is not right to be disappointed for a podium, especially as I was never able to do better than sixth place at this track.
"But considering my speed and performance in qualifying and the warm-up I hoped to stay closer to Marc and Jorge. Before the race we had to decide on the front tyre and both Marc and Jorge made the right choice.
"I was more in trouble with the hard tyre and from the beginning I was struggling, especially to stop the bike and with some understeer. It was very difficult.
"When Dani crashed I wasn't very far behind and wanted to overtake Marc who went out from the track but Dani's bike cut my line so I had to brake and go left.
"I had hoped my front tyre choice was the right one but when I started to struggle, Jorge and Marc were too fast.
"It was a great battle for the podium with Bradl and Bautista who arrived very fast and I had to push a lot on the last lap. A podium is positive but we still need to be more competitive on Sunday."