Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Seal Double Podium at San Marino Grand Prix
Thousands of passionate Italian fans at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli were on the edge of their seats as they cheered on their Movistar Yamaha MotoGP hero. Valentino Rossi delivered a strong performance and led for most of the race to ultimately take second place in the 'Gran Premio di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini'. Teammate Jorge Lorenzo also held a fast pace throughout the 28 laps, to take third place.
Starting from second on the grid, Rossi entered the first corner side-by-side with Maverick Viñales, but was quick to leave the Spaniard behind when he flicked his bike left into turn 2 as he wanted to prevent his teammate from clearing off at the front. After the first lap there was just 0.202s between them and only a lap later the Doctor leaped past Lorenzo in turn 14, reversing the order. He followed it up with two fastest laps of the race that far, 1'33.672s on lap three, and a 1'33.384s on lap five, increasing his lead to over 0.8s.
The local hero continued to push and was able to extend the margin to 1.2s, but Dani Pedrosa had overtaken Lorenzo and was chasing the Doctor down with eleven laps to go. The pair got involved in a fight for first place three laps later. Making his Yamaha as wide as possible, Rossi defended his lead tooth and nail but with seven laps to go Pedrosa made an aggressive pass at turn 4. Determined to fight to the very end of the race Rossi put in a personal best lap of 1'33.025s, three laps to the end, but he was unable to catch his rival and took the chequered flag in second place, +2.837s from the front.
Starting from pole Lorenzo had an ideal launch off the line, taking the holeshot. He opted for his traditional strategy to break away early with a few hot laps, but his teammate was on his tail. The pair briefly touched when Rossi moved past a lap later in turn 14, but Lorenzo wasn't going to give up on the win easily. The Mallorcan increased his pace steadily but a threat was coming from behind.
Pedrosa was on the charge and with 13 laps remaining the two compatriots battled for second place. Lorenzo kept pushing to cut a chunk of time out of his disadvantage to Rossi, but two laps later he had to let Pedrosa through. Lorenzo continued to shadow the two frontmen, but came just short to be able to cut down the margin and join the fight at the front. He finished in a solid third place, +4.359s behind the winner.
Rossi's 20 points gives him a total score of 180, keeping him in second position in the championship standings, with a 43 point margin to the leader. He is 18 points ahead of Lorenzo in third place, who has collected 162 points so far this season.
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team will take a short break before the Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón in two weeks' time.
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
"I thought we could win today, especially after a good start by Vale and Jorge. Vale was riding very hard, leading the race superbly until there were just seven laps to go when he had to relinquish the lead to Pedrosa and settle for an important second place. Jorge had his typical strong start and worked hard all race to keep in contact with the front guys, finishing in third place. A double podium at our home race is a great result. Over the last three races we have continuously gained on points in the championship standings to the leader. We are confident to continue this trend at the next round in two weeks' time in Aragón, which is also sponsored by the team's title sponsor, Movistar."
2nd / +2.837 / 28 laps, Championship: 2nd, 180 points
"I tried the maximum to race against Marquez. When I saw that my rhythm was enough to win I was very happy, but later Pedrosa arrived and he was too fast. I tried the maximum but there was no way, he had a better pace. Anyway, it's second place. It's a shame here in Misano, it's a race I especially tried to win, but today it wasn't possible. Thank you to all the fans that were at the track, it was great."
3rd / +4.359 / 28 laps, Championship: 3rd, 162 points
"I can't be very happy, because I expected a bit more from the race. I tried hard for the victory but today I simply didn't have the best pace. Especially Dani had a better pace and Rossi had one tenth on some laps. Little by little they were going away, so I tried my best to stay there but they went ahead. Honestly they were faster."
Espargaro scores top independent rider honours in San Marino
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team Rider Pol Espargaro delivered a tireless performance in the demanding San Marino GP to finish the event in 8th place in front of more than 100,000 passionate fans today. The 25-year-old lunged forward from the head of the fourth row of the grid and after carefully picking his way around the first lap, he crossed the line in the same position. Then he quickly built up his pace and his strong rhythm saw him close down Aleix Espargaro in front, whom he powered past on lap 8. The 2013 Moto2 World Champion continued to push as he reduced the gap to Crutchlow and Pirro in the final stages of the race and he eventually met the chequered flag whilst holding 9th position. However, a time penalty for the rider in front, which was issued after the GP, elevated Espargaro to 8th in the results, plus as the victor in the leading satellite rider battle. At the Gran Premio de Aragon, the Spaniard will aim to produce another solid performance ahead of the triple flyaway events.
Meanwhile, Alex Lowes suffered bad luck at the San Marino GP as he fell on the 7th lap whilst fighting for a point scoring result. The British rider, who is standing in for the injured Bradley Smith, kicked off the sprint from 14th on the grid and leapt forward when the lights went out before concluding the opening lap in 17th. He set into a consistent rhythm as he aimed to move up and seize another strong finish. Yet, he unfortunately lost the front of his bike at the first corner, with a quarter of the distance having been completed, whilst running in 16th. The outcome marks a disappointing close to the event for the 25-year-old, who otherwise produced a highly positive and impressive display in only his second MotoGP appearance aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1. Lowes will compete at the 10th round of the World Superbike Series in Germany next weekend, and will then join the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team once again in Aragon for his final outing due to Smith's continued recovery process.
8th / +27.155 / 28 laps, Championship: 9th, 89 points
"I did my absolute best in today's race but I have to admit that it was a challenging GP. It was very physically demanding and I struggled with the full fuel load, the bike moved a lot and my leg started to hurt a bit which certainly didn't make things easier. In addition, at the beginning, it was tough to get past Aleix because his bike seemed to have the upper hand, but I pushed onwards and passed him on the 8th lap because he made a slight mistake whilst entering the last corner, which I rode perfectly. Then, in the last stages of the race, I was hunting down Cal and I got close because he was suffering a lot, plus I rode a 1'33.9 in the penultimate lap which helped to reduce the gap to 1.4 seconds and I gave it everything I had because I thought that he may receive a penalty. It's good that I got the top satellite position but it wasn't in the way that I would have wished to score it after the weekend I have had. I am only four points from Cal in the standings, so we have to try and lower this at the next round and therefore I will be back stronger in Aragon."
DNC, Championship: 23rd, 3 points
"After what has been a positive weekend, I am obviously disappointed with today's outcome. To be honest, I didn't really get the chance to get into the race, and sadly I made a small mistake and lost the front at turn one. For sure, this is a big shame because I've completed quite a few longer runs in the practice sessions and overall, my pace has been good and I have constantly improved my times. The whole weekend, apart from today, has been encouraging and I got a better understanding of the YZR-M1 with every lap. I've enjoyed this event but it's never nice to end with a negative result in the GP, especially as I am getting more competitive on the Yamaha. I have to say again that this experience has been fantastic and I have been able to enjoy the time because there is no pressure with regards to the championship standings. I wish that I was able to repay the team's efforts with a good finish today, but we made a good step up from Silverstone. Yet, I am super happy to announce that I will be riding for Monster Yamaha Tech3 again in Aragon and I am thankful to have another opportunity. Yet, first of all, I have to concentrate now on my own championship targets in WSBK with next week's race in Lausitzring and I am very confident that the experience gained in MotoGP will enable me to fight for the podium."