MotoGP fans couldn‘t have asked for a more dramatic Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana on Sunday and Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi was there to pick up the pieces, the Doctor riding a very consistent race to secure fifth position.
Rossi had a strong start from seventh on the grid, holding his position on the first lap. He then got into a battle with Jack Miller and dropped back to eighth, but the nine-time World Championship cunningly bided his time before taking back seventh position on lap 7.
It looked to be a relatively calm race for the Doctor, but it was just the silence before the storm.
With 18 laps to go, he overtook Andrea Iannone, but later had to let Alex Rins pass, just before drama struck.
Multiple crashes and run-offs saw the order at the front reshuffled.
Yet Rossi remained cool and benefitted from the chaos, settling into fifth place. Unable to make a dent in the gap to the rider in front of him, he held that same position crossing the finish line, 13.817s from the front.
“We wanted to do better, for sure, but it was the kind of race I was expecting,” he said. “I knew we had to suffer because my pace during the weekend wasn‘t fantastic. We didn‘t have enough grip, so we struggled. Now we think the pre-season tests will be very important, because we have to reduce the gap, improve the setting and try to arrive ready for next season.”