"I had a great battle with Casey with two or three overtakes, it was fun," said Rossi afterwards.
"I had a little bit more pace and when I was second I started the most difficult part of the race, because Dani was in front more than one second and I know he's difficult to catch.
"I have 65 points and I'm in front of Casey, who I think is the most difficult rival, but also Dani and Lorenzo are not far behind, so it will be very tough to the end."
Rossi thanks fans and team after Jerez win
Pedrosa missed pre-season testing at Jerez because of injury, so his performance was all the more impressive.
"Although of course I wanted to win here, I'm actually very happy with the podium and surprised too," he said.
"We struggled when we arrived on Friday and having missed so much testing in the winter - and the test here - it's a very good result for us."
Stoner has struggled at the circuit in the past and was more than happy with his third place.
"This feels more like a victory than Qatar did - it's a very hard track for us," he said afterwards.
"This was the best the bike had been all weekend but it still just wasn't quite enough but we're stoked with third place.
"When Jorge was threatening to catch I thought this is it, I'm off the podium - almost every lap I was losing the front at least once and I was about to give up when he went, so everything went our way today."
Jerez MotoGP result:
1 V Rossi (It) Yamaha 45 mins 18.557 secs 2 D Pedrosa (Spn) Honda 45:21.257 3 C Stoner (Aus) Ducati 45:29.064 4 R de Puniet (Fr) Honda 45:50.450 5 M Melandri (Ita) Kawasaki 45:51.685 6 L Capirossi (Ita) Suzuki 45:52.685 7 C Edwards (US) Yamaha 45:52.978 8 A Dovizioso (Ita) Honda 45:53.182 9 T Elias (Spn) Honda 46:01.246 10 C Vermeulen (Aus) Suzuki 46:03.740 11 S Gibernau (Spn) Ducati 46:06.749 12 Y Takahashi (Jpn) Honda 46:10.432 13 J Toseland (GB) Yamaha 46:12.240 14 A de Angelis (SMR) Honda 46:12.498 15 N Hayden (US) Ducati 46:19.794
1 V Rossi (It) 65 pts 2 C Stoner (Aus) 54 3 J Lorenzo (Sp) 41 4 D Pedrosa (Sp) 41 5 A Dovizioso (It) 30 6 C Edwards (US) 26 7 R de Puniet (Fr) 24 8 M Melandri (It) 23 9 C Vermeulen (Aus) 21 10 L Capirossi (Ita) 19
250cc race result:
1 H Aoyama (Jpn) Honda 45 mins 08.805 secs 2 A Bautista (Spn) Aprilia 45:08.937 3 M Simoncelli (Ita) Gilera 45:11.511
250cc championship standings:
1 H Aoyama (Jpn) Honda 58 points 2 A Bautista (Spain) Aprilia 54 3 H Barbera (Spn) Aprilia 43
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