Rossi Takes Fifth in Misano Mania
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Valentino Rossi took home solid points after a difficult race in today's 'Grand Prix di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini'. Teammate Jorge Lorenzo had a strong pace but got caught out by the tricky conditions and was unable to complete the race.
The Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli was a sea of yellow as thousands of fans cheered on their local hero, Valentino Rossi, to take fifth in a drama-filled 'Gran Premio di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini'. Movistar Yamaha MotoGP teammate Jorge Lorenzo gave his all to keep up his strong record at Misano, but suffered a crash on cold tyres after having just switched bikes for a second time.
Despite threatening clouds and spots of rain, the Doctor flew off the line at the start of the 28-lap sprint and held third position going into the first corner. He held Dani Pedrosa at bay as he chased teammate Lorenzo and rival Marc Marquez. Trying to keep in contention with the front group, he closed the gap when he set a fastest lap of the race thus far of 1'33.894 on lap three.
Rossi caught up with the race leaders as rain started to fall and joined them going into the pits on lap seven, to reenter the track in seventh place. Two laps later all riders had come in to switch bikes, restoring the order to Rossi riding in third place as he hunted down Marquez and Lorenzo for the lead.
Lapping more than a second quicker he used all his experience in tricky conditions and with 17 laps to go was right on their rear tyres. He overtook Marquez on the next lap, while a dry line started to form. On lap 15 the Doctor decided to make his move on Lorenzo and had the fans jumping to their feet when he led the race for the first time, but there was more drama on its way.
The track had dried up and several riders started to switch back to a bike with a dry set up. The Italian hero decided to stay out as long as possible and pushed to the maximum to create a margin between him and his teammate. He was the last rider to come in for a second bike swap after 20 laps and rejoined the track in fifth place. He was eager to ride back to a podium finish but was unable to close the gap to the rider in fourth place and finished the race in fifth, +33.196s from the front.
Teammate Lorenzo had a lightning fast start from pole position as the lights went out and grabbed the holeshot. With a clear track in front of him, he tried to shake off rival Marquez and teammate Rossi and put the hammer down, consistently lowering his times. Lapping in the low 1'33s he opened up a nearly one second gap, until the rain flags were being waved on lap six.
As the pace dropped noticeably, the leading trio decided to come in on lap seven and Lorenzo rejoined the track in fifth place, ahead of Marquez. As the race order was restored one lap later, the Majorcan was clever to ride behind Marquez while testing the conditions, until his rival went wide and he reclaimed the lead.
Lorenzo continued to give his all but had to let his teammate pass on lap 15 when his wet tyres started to drop on the drying asphalt. Rubber was flying off Lorenzo's front tyre as he came in with eight laps to go and he reentered the race in fourth place. He was motivated to make his way back to the front and pushed hard, but got caught out by the tricky conditions in turn 15 and was unable to continue the race.
Rossi's 11-point score increases his points total to 247 points as he holds the championship lead. Despite not taking home any points, Lorenzo still holds second position with 224 points, 23 points behind his teammate.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Bradley Smith did well to finish the race in second place and scored 20 points, giving Yamaha a 57-point lead in the Constructors Championship standings.
5th / +33.196s / 28 laps
"It's true that the championship is a lot more important that winning this race, it's the main target. Unfortunately Jorge crashed and I was able to gain another 11-points. This is good for the championship, but it's a shame to miss out on the podium, because I wanted to arrive in the top three in front of all the spectators. It was a crazy race and when you have to change the bike, in this case twice, you need luck and rapid thinking to understand the situation. Fifth is still a good result and we're looking forward to the next race in Aragon. There are still five races left and unfortunately Lorenzo has the ability to win at every single one and Marquez is also always strong, so there are still a lot of points left to fight for. Aragon is always a difficult track, but we did some tests there and my lap times weren't so bad, so we have to try to do a good race and arrive on the podium."
DNF / -8 laps
"Two races with bad luck in a row, because the circumstances were wet and abnormal. In Silverstone I didn't have the confidence and here I didn't have the pace to warm up the tyre well, so I entered the corner with slicks that were still cold and lost the rear. I think I've been unlucky this year in general, but especially these last two races, because I could have won both or finished second, but that's racing. In previous years, my rivals in the championship crashed and this year it's me who's unlucky, but all is not lost. If I win all the coming races I can still become the World Champion and it wouldn't matter in what position Valentino would finish in."
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
"It was clear from the start of the race that the weather was going to play a big factor. As always the team did a great job to give both Vale and Jorge the best possible set up for the race, but the weather changed just before the start, making the tyre choice and the strategy a real gamble. Vale lost some time at the beginning, but did well to keep his head cool despite the chaos. Deciding on when to come in is always a very tough call to make when you are leading the race, especially when you have the championship to think of. He gambled on changing to slicks a lap later than Jorge so it was a challenge for him to come back. It's a shame that Jorge was caught out by the tricky conditions, as he looked very impressive all weekend. Luckily he was not seriously injured, considering the high speed crash. I am sure he'll be back in perfect form in two week's time. Today's results don't represent what we would have been capable of, had the weather been more consistent. We'll put this weekend behind us now and we look forward to the next round in Aragon."
Expert Smith blazes to second position in Misano MotoGP thriller
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Bradley Smith delivered an exceptional performance in front of 92,315 people to clinch the second MotoGP rostrum of his career after conquering the Misano race in 2nd. The young Briton started from the second row after a successful qualifying campaign yesterday. However, moments before the beginning of the 28 lap sprint rain began to fall at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli and shortly after the lights went out, the weather deteriorated which prompted riders to change bikes in the first quarter of the GP. Yet, after finishing the opening lap in 6th place, Smith took the brave decision to remain out on the track with slick tyres in the wet whilst every other rider pitted. As the race progressed he dropped back to 21st on the 11th lap, but his choice to remain out on the track paid dividends when the rain stopped falling and the circuit began to dry quickly. Here, the young British rider rocketed through the field and back into 9th position with ten laps remaining as the rest of the riders changed back to their dry bikes. Smith continued to improve his speed consistently and furthered his ascent before expertly moving into a podium position on lap 20. Shortly afterwards, he moved up one position and eventually sped across the finish line in this placement after having made the climb from 21st to 2nd. The result closes a hugely successful weekend for Smith who now moves back up to 5th in the world championship standings after the expertly calculated ride.
On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team garage, Pol Espargaro endured a tricky GP and was hugely unfortunate as he failed to finish the eventful race in San Marino. After undertaking a good start which saw him climb up three places from 12th on the grid to 9th, Espargaro battled to move further through the pack, yet as the rain began to fall, he took the decision to pit on lap seven. After re-joining the Grand Prix, the 24 year old moved further up the field and reached 5th as a third of the race distance was covered. He was then shuffled back one place and ran in 6th place for an extended period. However, with the weather having improved, he took the decision to pit again with eight laps to go. Espargaro then re-joined the GP yet suffered technical issues shortly after, which caused him to retire on the last lap. Yet, he will seek to bounce back with a strong result at the next event at Aragon in his home country.
2nd / +7.288s / 28 laps
"I am thrilled with this finish as I feel that I earned it today even though it was a big gamble! It was very difficult to make the right decisions in the race and I tried to make a few calculations in my head. I looked at the sky before it started and I said to myself that if it rains, it will only be for a short while and I hoped it would dry quickly. However, I still didn't know how the new surface would be in the wet. My decision to stay out was initially because I missed the lap when Jorge and Vale pitted so I carried on and I believed that the rain had slowed down slightly. At this point, I already had lost a lot of time, therefore I thought it would be best to wait a few laps and see what happens and when it stopped I knew the gamble could work as I realised that they might have to pit twice. Furthermore, I kept saying to myself that luck favours the brave which motivated me even further and here I am! My race position kept going up and to finally come home in 2nd is very special. This result is one of my greatest and it's a truly emotional moment. In Phillip Island I just finished the race and got the podium but here I had to ride really smoothly and with skill as well as talent in these conditions. We have to take opportunities like these because as a satellite team we work really hard for 5th or 6th every race, but the rostrum is just out of reach. So, I'm even more delighted to give this finish to the team and the sponsors and I can't wait to get back out on track at the next round."
DNF / -2 laps
"I can't hide my disappointment at how the weekend finished after it looked promising from the early stages and yet again, the weather complicated my race. Of course, I didn't have any experience on this resurfaced track in the wet conditions so everything was a bit uncertain and to be honest, there were moments in the GP where I couldn't see if line was dry or wet. In addition, at one point I was slightly confused about which position I was in as there was no one in front or behind me. I stayed out on the wet tyres for a while as I didn't want to come back in and change to slicks in those ever changing conditions because it could have started raining again. So, I thought this was the best thing to do, but at the end of the day it was a lottery and this time, it didn't go my way. Yet, when I did eventually pit, I returned to the track and I had an issue which caused me to retire. So it was clearly a frustrating end to this weekend even though I was on the pace when it was dry, just like at Silverstone. I started the day well and this morning I finished the warm up in 5th, but then the rain came which prevented me from racing the GP how I wanted to. However, I must say congratulations to Bradley who did a really good job and I just hope that in Aragon, the conditions will be the same for the entire weekend and we can have a normal and uninterrupted race."
Superb fourth place for Loris Baz in Misano
After an incredible race, the Grand Prix of San Marino and Riviera di Rimini ends in the best way possible for the Forward Racing team. Loris Baz not only won among Open but he crossed the finish line in fourth place overall, giving him the lead of the Open standings. It was an uphill race for his teammate Claudio Corti, who took the checkered flag in twentieth place.
After a good start from 16th place on the grid, the Frenchman was one of the protagonists of this flag-to-flag race. After the first drops started to fall, Baz was quick to return to the pits to swap bike when he was in 12th position. He then stayed on the wet track for six laps before opting to return to a dry setup. His timing proved to be the winning choice, and within a few laps he was close to the leaders and on the podium. After a quick battle with Scott Redding, he finished in fourth position. With the thirteen points won today Baz takes the Open championship lead with five a five-point gap to his direct opponent Barbera.
The race was different for his teammate Claudio Corti, who was involved in an early collision and lost some positions at the start. After getting the timing to change his bike right, he suffered in the wet conditions and finished in 20th place.
4th / +26.427s / 28 laps
"What a day! Without notice we had to race on wet conditions and change the bike not only once but twice. It was hard to stay on the bike with the slick tires but I think I was doing well there. Than I was one of the first to come back to pit to change to rain and after 6 lap one of the first to change again to slick. That was what made the difference. The race was crazy at some point I did not know where I was, I just stayed focused. The dry line was really, really tight. The last lap was eternally long because I wanted to bring the bike home and now I'm the leader of the Open standings. I want to thank all the team because flag-to-flag race are never easy and everyone did an incredible job not only for today but also in the last couple of months."
20th / -1 lap / 28 laps
"It was a chaotic race with many sudden changes. I took some risks but I had fun overall. I was stuck in traffic early in the race and I lost some positions. I was able to get close again to my opponets but it started to rain. Maybe I waited a bit too much to get rain tires. We learned a lot from this race and we gathered many inputs to work with."