Valentino Rossi declared himself content with his Portuguese Grand Prix despite losing fourth to Andrea Dovizioso on the final lap, and believes by Catalunya he will finally be back to full fitness.
Rossi progressed from ninth on the grid to fourth early on and looked set for his best finish for Ducati yet until Dovizioso's last-minute pass. But the former champion said the race had been sufficiently encouraging that he was not concerned about the actual finishing position.
"We are happy about the race, because first I'm happy about my physical condition - I could ride quite normally until the end of the race," said Rossi. "I'm still not at 100 percent. I have maybe 15 per cent less power in the shoulder, and after quite a lot of laps I have a problem on the left leg, because when I lose a bit of power on the right shoulder, I try to hook on the tank with the left leg and the knee twists a little bit because I'm pushing on the inside and I start to have pain. But this is a problem I can fix - maybe not for Le Mans, but for Catalunya."
The Italian also felt he had made clear progress with the Ducati's set-up between qualifying and the race.
"We improved the bike a lot, especially on the front, so I can push a lot," Rossi said. "I did 20 times during the race the lap time of my qualifying, so it means the setting is a lot better."
Rossi joked that his final-lap loss of position reminded him of being beaten to victory by Toni Elias in the famously exciting 2006 Portuguese GP.
"I was happy with the fourth place because it could be the best result with Ducati, but Dovi was more fast and clever than me and overtook me just on the line. The finish line doesn't bring me a lot of luck..." said Rossi.
He believes Ducati still needs to find another 0.4 second to have a shot at victory, but thinks that he will be back to his best within a couple of races -- over a year after the Motocross crash that first started his injury problems.
"Now we have to work a lot on the bike to try to fix some problems," Rossi said. "I didn't expect to be fourth in the championship after three races. For now the first three are faster than us, a minimum of three to four tenths today. So now the target is to work on the bike to close the gap.
"I think we are not ready to win. The target for Le Mans is to try to improve the position. Maybe I will not be 100 percent in Le Mans. But I think for Barcelona, I will be fit."