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Rossi: This is not like a victory, but close

27/07/20

The Italian revelled in the Jerez podium.

Valentino Rossi was delighted to put a frustrating start to the 2020 MotoGP™ season behind him by claiming third place in the Andalusia Grand Prix.

The Italian endured an opening race to forget at Jerez a week ago, failing to finish due to a technical issue as fellow Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo claimed victory.

However, back on the same track as part of a much-changed schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic, a rejuvenated Rossi made the podium for the 199th time in the premier class.

The 41-year-old joked he had considered not even turning up but was delighted to be back contending again.

"Last week was very frustrating. I said maybe I should stay at home and not go to Jerez. My motivation was less," Rossi told BT Sport.

"But, from Friday, I start to think that we could do a good race. Something inside me switched on.

"This is not like a victory, but close."

Rossi revealed how he had to "push" Yamaha to make changes to his bike, allowing him to feel more comfortable at a venue that has not been a happy hunting ground of late.

His last success in Jerez came four years ago, while he had not made a MotoGP™ podium since early in a 2019 campaign that saw him finish seventh in the overall standings.

"We changed a lot the setting of the bike from Friday, unfortunately we had to push a lot on Yamaha," Rossi explained.

"I felt better from Friday morning. It's very difficult, because there are a lot of riders who are strong. But, this weekend, I ride my bike.

"We are not perfect, but I recover the good feeling, the balance that I like, I can enter into the corner faster and stress less the tyres. I’m very happy."

Asked if this could be a launching pad for the rest of the season, he replied: "I hope so. Jerez, after the victory in 2016, was very, very bad. Today I was competitive on a track where I've suffered in recent years."