It looks like The Doctor is getting his groove back. MoviStar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi celebrated his second-consecutive podium finish this past weekend at round five of the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France at the famous Le Mans circuit. The podium in France was Rossi’s third of the year and, on a larger scale, represented the nine-time MotoGP World Champion’s 150th premier class podium. It was also his 10th such podium at Le Mans.
“I’m happy because 150 is a lot and I’m not far from 200 podiums overall in 300 races,” said Rossi on the MotoGP website. “I’ve had a long career but I’m working really hard to still be here.”
The French MotoGP’s 28-lap race was indeed Rossi’s 299th Grand Prix appearance, and the popular Italian made the most of it. Although Rossi had to start from the second row of the grid, he quickly maneuvered himself into the lead and led the charge for several laps early in the race.
“I’m very happy about the race and the result,” he said. “I did a very good start and when I saw (Andrea) Dovizoso and (Stefan) Bradl in front I knew I could go faster than them and I overtook them. I felt good with the bike, I got in front and I tried and tried. Today was a little bit more difficult with the front maybe because the track was hotter. I tried the maximum and my pace wasn’t bad.”
Although Rossi attempted to create a gap while leading, the Movistar Yamaha rider ran wide going into the last chicane and eventually gave way to race winner, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marqez. After that, Rossi tucked in and held off third-place finisher, Go&Fun Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista.
“I was waiting for Marc or for Jorge (Lorenzo) or Dani (Pedrosa) to arrive, especially Marc,” said Rossi. “When he arrived I tried to push harder and make his job more difficult, but unfortunately at the crucial moment I made a mistake and I broke a little bit too deep."I went wide and it’s a great pity because that made it too easy for Marc," he continued." If not we would have been able to fight for longer because today I was not too bad. I want to try next time out in Italy in Mugello to have a good weekend and to fight with him again.”
The next round of MotoGP will be Rossi’s home race at Mugello. Going into the Italian MotoGP, Rossi sits third in the title chase. With 81 championship points, he’s only two points behind second-place, Repsol Honda’s Pedrosa.Tags: Alvaro Bautista, France, Le Mans, Marc Marqez, Monster Energy Grand Prix De France, Motorsports, Movistar Yamaha, Mugello, Repsol Honda, Valentino Rossi