Rossi Seals Superb Spanish Victory As Lorenzo Scores Second
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Valentino Rossi highlighted why he is the most successful rider at Circuito de Jerez today and rode one of the strongest races of his career to receive a standing ovation as he jumped onto the top step of the podium for the Gran Premio de España. Jorge Lorenzo also put in a stunning effort under the Andalusian sunshine and made it a perfect 1-2 for the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team.
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team dominated the scenes in Spain as Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo set off from first and second place of the grid. They didn't relinquish the first two places once to any other riders and gave Yamaha a perfect one-two podium.
Starting from pole the nine-time world champion had a strong start and took the holeshot with his team-mate following his every move like a shadow. Two laps of tense racing action followed as they pushed each other to the limit. Rossi tried to make his YZR-M1 as wide as possible as Lorenzo tried to steal the lead. He had a brief success, but Rossi immediately responded. Realising the threat that was coming from behind, the Doctor dropped the fastest lap of the race on lap three, a 1'40.090s, and created a 0.7s gap to his pursuers. With clear track in front of him and behind him, Rossi put the hammer down and checked out.
Determined to look after his tyres, the Italian lowered his pace a little in the final stages of the race, yet made sure to keep enough space between him and Lorenzo by responding in the right moments. He finished his lonely ride by taking the chequered flag 2.386s ahead his closest rival and took home his 113th career victory.
Teammate Lorenzo had a strong start and tucked in behind team-mate Rossi in second place. The local hero is known for being strong on the opening lap and built on the pressure on his fellow Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider. He was eager to find a way past the number 46 rider after a few attempts that weren't to last, but soon he had to focus on protecting his second place from a fast approaching Marc Marquez.
However, the race was far from over. With 10 laps to go Lorenzo was able to turn the tables on Rossi and started to close down the margin. It looked like a second battle for the win was about to take place when suddenly the Spaniard suffered from wheel spin on the long straight just as he started to reel in his team-mate. Keeping his head cool, Lorenzo finished the race calmly and secured his 100th premier class podium.
Rossi remains in third position with his first place podium finish, now on 58 points and seven points behind Lorenzo, who is in second place with a total of 65 points, 17 behind the leader in the championship standings.
The team will be back on track tomorrow at the Circuito de Jerez for a one-day test.
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
"It was an incredible Grand Prix for the whole team. We finished a perfect weekend in first and second place and led almost all the session. What we accomplished here is an important result, especially because of the significant gap to the other manufacturers at what is one of the home Grand Prixs of our title sponsor, Movistar. Valentino has been strong since Friday and we are thrilled for him to take home such a stunning victory. He had a good start and rode a perfect race and led from the first to the last lap without making any mistakes. He did everything right and fully deserved this win. It was unfortunate that Jorge was slowed down by wheel spin towards the end of the race, because he was also looking very strong, especially at the start and also just after the mid-way point of the race. He again showed that he is an incredible professional and clever rider to be able to ride around the problem and take home valuable points for the championship. I want to thank the entire team staff who made this result possible. Now we have a few hours to enjoy today's achievements and then we will focus on tomorrow's test."
1st / 45'28.834 / 27 laps. Championship: 3rd / 58 points
"I think that this was the perfect weekend. We started to go faster from Friday morning and we worked very well. The bike, in the race, was fantastic and we worked very well with the team so I have to say "thank you" to the whole Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team, especially my crew. I had a good pace and a good start and felt good with the bike from the beginning, so I could push. Sincerely, it was a special taste to have a win like this, so thanks a lot!"
2nd / + 2.386 / 27 laps. Championship: 2nd / 65 points
"The positive thing is that the Yamahas went better and also 20 points and second place is good for the championship. Because Rossi crashed in Austin, he is still behind in the championship standings and we made up some points to Marquez. The only thing is that we could have won the race without the problem on the front-straight. Going through the gears the bike didn't stop spinning and I couldn't fully open the throttle. Just when I started recovering metres on Rossi this problem started, so I had to slow down a lot and I didn't have the chance to fight with him for the victory, but sometimes this happens. Now Michelin have to find out what is going on. They improved the front tyre and now I am sure they'll work on the rear to solve these kinds of issues."
Espargaro signs off in top independent position at Jerez
The Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro pulled off another solid performance today to clinch 8th in Andalucía. The 25 year old kicked off the fight from the third row on the grid and leapt forward when the lights went out before completing the opening lap one place higher. He quickly set into his formidable race pace and by the mid point of the GP, he remained in 7th. The Spaniard kept pushing but despite his best efforts, he was overtaken by the Factory Ducati of Andrea Iannone in the final third of the race. Nevertheless, he comfortably finished ahead of the pursuing riders in 8th in what was his fourth top ten result this season. Now, Espargaro confidently looks on to the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team's home Grand Prix in a fortnight's time.
Meanwhile, Bradley Smith gave his all today after a tricky qualifying campaign and he met the chequered flag in the race in 12th position. The young Briton launched from the middle of the fifth row of the grid and whilst muscling his way around the track, he was pushed back to 15th by the close of the first lap. However, he dug deep as he intended to rise through the field and by lap 10 he snatched 12th. His progress continued and he opened a gap to the pack behind before powering to the end in this position. The 25 year old will use the test day tomorrow at the Jerez circuit as an opportunity to improve so that he can repeat his 2015 form at Le Mans, the next round of the MotoGP World Championship.
8th / + 30.750 / 27 laps. Championship: 5th / 36 points
"I am pleased to walk away from Jerez with another strong set of points but it certainly was a challenging race. The weather changed so much from the practice sessions and it was very hot out there today, so that it was tough to choose the tyres and then ride a decent race yet we did what we could. At the beginning I was just adjusting to the conditions, but I upped the pace in the middle and then went quick at the end. I feel, along with some of the other satellite riders for sure, that the gap to the factory guys is still considerable. We saw them going and just had to think about the end of the race otherwise we would wear the tyre and not finish. It's a pity that you cannot extract all of the potential from your bike because the tyre is limited. Having said that we are in a development stage, so for sure this will improve in the future. Anyway we still managed to get 8th but we need a bit more so that we can fight a bit higher in the opening laps which we will aim to discover tomorrow. In the final third of the GP, Iannone had a bit more traction than me when exiting the corners. My rear tyre was worn so I didn't want to push too hard and risk it all. Le Mans is next, which is the Monster Energy sponsored race and the home GP for my team. I like the track but not the weather as it changes a lot! We are all motivated and in a good position in the championship so I know we can have a positive time there."
12th / +39.669 / 27 laps. Championship: 12th / 20 points
"Without a doubt it was a tough weekend for me but at least I got something out of it in terms of points, and I am determined to have a more successful time at the next round in France. In the race I had an ok start off the line but the Aprilias and Ducatis were really strong during the opening laps. Unfortunately I also lost some positions in the first lap due to contact with another rider so I ended up behind Hernandez and Bautista. I felt like it cost me some time following them, but with the lack of grip I experienced on the rear tyre, I could not push any harder at the beginning and already after ten laps I knew that I was in trouble. Therefore, I just tried to be as smooth as possible and reach the finish flag. The good thing is that we managed to improve my feeling with the front over the weekend and I felt more comfortable when compared to the previous races, so tomorrow in the test we will focus on trying to find a solution to the rear. However, saying that is very easy and this may not be the case in reality. Yet, we will work hard and take full advantage of tomorrow so that we can be strong in Le Mans like last year."