Valentino Rossi has admitted that the chance for his first win of the 2017 MotoGP season and his first in almost a year was denied to him at the French Grand Prix by his own mistakes, after crashing out of a last lap battle with teammate Maverick Viñales.
The nine-time world champion made not one but two uncharacteristic mistakes on the last lap, first allowing Viñales through on him despite hunting him down in the closing stages of the race and then crashing out only a few corners later – mistakes that he says were all his own doing.
“It was a great shame, because for my team it was the best weekend of the season, where I was more competitive on the track, also in the wet, but especially in the race. For sure, for me this could have been the best result of the season. It was very difficult because the pace was always very high, but at the end I felt comfortable on the bike, I had a good feeling, so I tried to attack.
“Unfortunately, on the last lap I made a mistake in turn 6 and I fell back a little, so Maverick could overtake me. I knew I had another chance, because we were very close and I tried to remain there, because in sector 4 I was good. Sincerely, what happened during the crash, we don't understand. Usually you have to pay attention to the front, but I lost the rear when I crashed. Anyway, I made a mistake, and it's like this. It is a great shame to go back home with zero points. First of all, I'm very sorry for missing out on the probable victory and also for losing the lead in the championship, because I lost points.”
However, while it might have been a bad weekend of results for the Italian, Rossi still comes away from Le Mans pleased with his progress after running at the front for much of the weekend at the French circuit.
“For me, it still has been a good weekend, I was strong. Now we have to start thinking about the next race track, I hope to ride there like I did this weekend. We hope to continue like this.