MONDAY 11TH JULY 2005
After fading back from US GP race leader Nicky Hayden and being passed by Factory Yamaha team-mate Colin Edwards on the entry to the famous corkscrew turn at half race distance, world champion Valentino Rossi would recover to mount a serious counter attack on the Texan in the closing stages.
Rossi began the race having expressed serious safety concerns about certain points on the Californian racetrack, and left with a third place trophy 32 laps later. It was his worst result of the season so far, but he did have the honour of being the highest placed European on his first visit to the specialist circuit.
"I lost some time during practice trying to learn the circuit so the bike was not at 100% today, and also our tyre choice was not perfect. Anyway, Nicky rode very hard and it was impossible to catch him today," admitted Vale.
"I knew Colin was coming but I didn't realise how close he was and he caught me by surprise in the Corkscrew. I lost some time there but at the end he lost some of his rhythm and I tried to catch him.
"He turned around to look at me and I said: 'Hello, I am here!' I thought maybe to attack on the last lap, but then I had a vision of both yellow Yamahas in the dirt so decided third place was okay, especially for the championship!" revealed Rossi, who increased his lead over Marco Melandri to 79 points.
"Anyway, I am very happy because I expected this to be the hardest race of the season but I am the fastest European rider here and I fought with the Americans. I have learnt a lot to try and beat them next year!" he declared.
Despite's Hayden's Honda victory, the combined efforts of Rossi and Edwards meant that Yamaha still had both its 50th Anniversary 'Yamaha USA' liveried riders on the podium.
"It has been a very good weekend for us and to have both riders together on the podium for the third time, this year is a nice way to celebrate Yamaha's 50th Anniversary," said team director Davide Brivio.
"It is great to see the yellow, white and black colours on the podium after so many years, but most importantly we have seen Valentino extend his advantage at the top of the championship and Colin get much closer to the top.
"It has been a positive grand prix in every aspect for us. We have also enjoyed the experience of being in California, and we look forward to coming back next year," he added.
Edwards, Rossi, US MotoGP Race 2005