WE saw Valentino Rossi at his very best at Misano – and what a career he has had.

We were at his home grand prix and you can’t get much closer than living 15 minutes down the road.

He may be 35 years old, but having witnessed first-hand how much effort and motivation he has put in this season – especially last weekend – it’s no great surprise to see him winning again.

His pace forced a mistake from Marc Marquez, the first time this year the championship leader has made an error.

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It was a great afternoon for Valentino and Yamaha and both my teammate Pol Espargaro and I need to take that information from the factory riders and bikes to enable us to take that step up.

On Sunday, I felt good in the warm-up and put some consistent laps together.

We had the pace to fight with the Ducatis if we could transfer that into the race.

Unfortunately, the rise in temperature between warm-up and the race caused Pol and myself some grip problems.

It’s something we need to investigate, especially with factory Yamahas finishing first and second.

We need to figure out what we are doing wrong – whether it is riding style or something that can be done to the bike to improve our situation.

We are just too sensitive to changes in temperature and grip.

I’m sure there is something we can learn from Valentino and Jorge which we can translate into a better performance in Aragon at the next round, because being in sixth and seventh, behind the Ducatis, is not how it was at the beginning of the season.

It was a difficult time on Friday in the rain at Misano and I was ready for another tough weekend.

On the first lap out, I locked the front wheel going down into the turn seven hairpin, which was highly embarrassing.

Thankfully, a lot of good people got caught out in the following laps, which didn’t make me feel quite so bad.

In the afternoon it was still raining, but I felt we were making some good steps forward.

I started to push towards the end of the session, but locked the front wheel again going into the final corner.

Two expensive crashes did not make for a good start or fill me with confidence.

I came out on Saturday feeling much better with the sun shining, and from the beginning of the third practice I was competitive.

Last year, Misano was a real bogey track for me and I did not go further than qualifying one and crashed twice on the Saturday.

Again qualifying did not quite go to plan.

I usually go out on the first tyre to get in a banker lap and then let loose on the second.

For some reason, it just did not hook up and tyre performance was not the same. Maybe I was just a little bit too aggressive or we didn’t quite warm-up the tyre enough.

I qualified on the third row, which was disappointing, because I thought the second was possible and would have made an easier start to the race.

I really like Aragon and believe there are specific corners that will emphasise our problems and provide a real test to sort out those issues.

We are only a few refinements from where we need to be and having the data from the first and second finishers in Misano really should enable us to sort it out.

If we can’t learn from the best bikes and riders in the world there is an issue. It was a solid points-scoring seventh in Misano and we can build from that with the information we have available.

I’m getting a piece of that Rossi magic-factor this week when I go dirt-tracking with him in Italy.

A good crowd of us are going which will be fun and relaxing, but very, very competitive.

With boys and bikes, it just can’t be any other way!

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