Rossi Celebrates 300th Premier GP
The Doctor takes third in his 300th race
Valentino Rossi was nearly able to mark his 300th top class MotoGP race atop the podium at Silverstone, but Ducati’s Andre Dovizioso denied him the slot. So third place, behind teammate Maverick Vinales, would have to do. Rossi led most of the race, with Marquez, Dovizioso, and Vinales challenging, until Marquez’s Honda engine uncharacteristically expired in a puff of smoke.
“I’m satisfied because it was a great race for me,” Rossi said. “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 tire, 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.”
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“It was great to see Vale lead the race for 17 laps with a lot of confidence,” said team manager Massimo Meregalli, “especially during his 300th Grand Prix start milestone. It was a shame that the tire 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.”
Andre Dovizioso has now posted four wins on the Ducati, and goes into the next race at Misano with the points lead. Marquez trails him by just nine points with six races to go in the season, with Vinales just another four points off in third. Rossi is 26 points adrift in sixth, so his chances for another world championship are slim. But anything can happen in the most closely fought MotoGP season in years.
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“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,” Meregalli said. “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.”