Valentino Rossi described the San Marino Grand Prix as one of his best races of the year after taking the Ducati GP11.1 to seventh at Misano.

With spots of rain falling, the Italian made a stunning start, jumping up to fifth by the end of lap two. Although he later dropped behind Marco Simoncelli and Ben Spies, the fact he was running with the factory Yamaha and Honda bikes gave him cause for satisfaction.

“I'm pretty happy because we didn't expect to do this well. I didn't think I'd be able to stay with the second group, which is our goal at the moment, and instead we managed it for half the race. We still weren't able to attack like we'd like to, but anyway, we were right there. I started really well from the fourth row, and I was a little crazy through the first three corners because I had to push even though there were some raindrops. It was nice after that. I stayed with 'Sic' and 'Dovi' for a little while and also battled with Spies, and we maintained a good pace.”

“This morning we made a good change on the front, and if we'd done that yesterday I probably could have started closer to the front. It ended up being one of my best races of the year, although of course we have to remember that we're only talking about seventh place. Still, it was a nice race in front of a good crowd. We're fairly satisfied as we wait to take the necessary steps forward.”

Unfortunately for the team, Nicky Hayden's miserable record at Misano continued. The American only completed one lap in his previous three visits and only made it as far as lap three this time before crashing out.

Hayden made no secret of the fact that he's happy to see the back of Misano for this year, and is already looking forward to bouncing back at Aragon.

“It was obviously a disappointing race. The team did a good job, as they made a couple of changes overnight, and this morning I was able to go a couple tenths faster than in qualifying, with a good rhythm. I thought we had a better chance for the race. It was raining a little bit at first, which is normally good for our bike. I got a decent start, felt good, and was going to take a few chances to try to get up as far as I could. Then I lost the front on the exit of Turn 15 and—bam!—I was down. We looked at the data, and I'm not really sure why I crashed. We were tip-toeing because of the rain, so maybe the left side of the tyre wasn't quite up to temperature, although it was still rider error. This track has been the worst one on the calendar for me. I certainly could use some good luck, and maybe we'll get it at Aragon.”

The team will now head to Mugello for a three day test before resuming their MotoGP campaign at the Motorland Aragon circuit in two weeks time.