Valentino Rossi has achieved one of the key goals of his weekend at the Malaysian Grand prix by holding off teammate Jorge Lorenzo in Sunday’s race to finally secure his second place in the 2016 MotoGP championship.
With 24 points separating the pair going into the weekend, Rossi just needed to finish ahead of his Movistar Yamaha teammate to secure the spot – something that he was able to do with ease even if he wasn’t able to challenge Andrea Dovizioso for the win.
“At the end, second is a good result and I’m quite happy. When you have the chance to close these things, you have to try, because I could have made a mistake and left the gap at only four points in Valencia, at a track where Jorge is always very fast.
“Securing second place in the championship is important, the battle with Lorenzo is always very intense and we always arrive at the last race. When you beat a rider that‘s very strong, like Jorge, it‘s great and in the end it has been a good season.”
However, while Rossi was able to hold off his teammate for the championship place, he admitted afterwards that he had no response whatsoever to the dominant charge of Andrea Dovizioso, something compounded by a series of problems of his own.
“I felt good from the first lap, but after the hard, hard fight with Iannone in the opening laps I wasn’t able to stay in front. I wanted to get away from him, in part because my gloves were so wet that I couldn’t keep the throttle fully open! But every time I passed him he over took me back again and I couldn’t get away.
I eventually got past him and in that moment I was optimistic for the victory, but as the track dried out I started to suffer more with the tyres, especially the front. I made a small mistake, but I didn’t have the pace of Andrea and there was no way I was going to catch him.”