It's been over a year since Valentino Rossi stood on a real MotoGP podium, but the nine-time world champion at least claimed his first Virtual rostrum in Sunday's 'home' Misano broadcast.

The result came when Fabio Quartararo, the rider taking Rossi's Monster Yamaha seat next season, fell from third place at the penultimate corner while sizing up an attack on the race-leading Marquez brothers.

As the Frenchman remounted his Petronas Yamaha, Rossi nipped past to snatch third position by a quarter of a second.

"I thought I could try in the last corner, but I wanted to give the podium to Vale for his home GP!" Quartararo joked.

"Thanks Fabio!" replied Rossi, who grabbed a nearby trophy in celebration.

"Yeah! I'm very happy for this podium because it is an important result in my home grand prix!" he laughed. "I trained this week and I feel better with the 2020 game so I'm very happy for me and my team and for all the fans!"

Rossi had narrowly avoided an accident at this start when he was hit from either side by Takaaki Nakagami and Marc Marquez, but then fell soon after while trying to overtake Alex Marquez.

Thereafter The Doctor fought his way back up from eighth to fourth, crossing the line 4.687s from race winner Alex Marquez.

"Unfortunately I did one mistake in the first lap, one crash, so I was a bit behind," Rossi said. "But in the last three laps I saw the top three ahead and tried to keep the good rhythm. On the last lap Fabio did a mistake and… podium!"

Rossi's only previous Virtual race appearance had ended with a final-turn crash while trying to take sixth position from Danilo Petrucci.

"I was fast enough this time and qualifying went well. I started from the middle of the second row, in between Maverick and Marc Marquez. The race was good!" he said.

The Misano contest was less successful for Monster Yamaha team-mate Maverick Vinales, who had taken victory at the previous Jerez round.

Like another former Virtual race winner, Francesco Bagnaia, Vinales was involved in the turn one pile-up at Misano, then suffered more incidents on his way to a subdued sixth place.

"My race didn't go well," he said. "I qualified in fourth place, which wasn‘t bad, but I crashed already in the first corner and then many more times during the race.

"This time I couldn‘t train, and this caused that result. It's disappointing, because I wanted to fight at the front again. For sure I will train for the next round and come back stronger!"

Vinales - who unlike Rossi has taken part in every Virtual race - is now second in the points standings, 15 behind Misano winner Alex Marquez.

 

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