MotoGP: Rossi celebrates 300th race in style

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Valentino Rossi has admitted that he was happy to celebrate his 300th premier class Grand Prix in style with a podium at yesterday’s British Grand Prix, even if he was unable to convert his long race lead into a victory.

The nine-time world champion pushed hard for 17 of the race’s 20 laps to maintain a lead but was unable to do anything as first Andrea Dovizioso and then Maverick Viñales came through in the closing laps of the race to demote him down to third at the chequered flag.

But despite the result, Rossi says he’s happy to have made a strong impact in a historically important race for him.

“I’m satisfied because it was a great race for me. I was able to ride really well after a great start and I stayed in front and rode on the limit without making mistakes, so I enjoyed it a lot for 17 laps. I think this is a good way to celebrate my 300th race in MotoGP’s premier class. There remains a bit of frustration, because I knew on the last laps I would suffer a bit with the degradation of the rear tyre, but I think this weekend we improved a lot. We’re still not at the top, we have to do better if we want to try to win, but it was a good weekend.”

But while Rossi might not have been ecstatic about his result after the race, team boss Massimo Meregalli was much more upbeat given the issues that the squad have faced in recent rounds with tyre life.

“It was great to see Vale lead the race for 17 laps with a lot of confidence, especially during his 300th Grand Prix start milestone. It was a shame that the tyre degradation meant he wasn’t able to defend his position at the end, but he rode a faultless race, and he and Maverick recovered a good amount of championship points today, which could prove to be crucial at the end of the season.

“Today’s race results were a well-deserved reward for our riders and crew members and a testament to their hard work over the last few weeks. This result gives us a lot of confidence, especially after the last two races. We're now going to Misano, where we had a really positive test last week, so we have strong intentions to get a top result there too.”

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer