Movistar Yamaha Triumphs in Termas de Río Hondo
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team gave an astounding performance in todays Gran Premio Motul de la República Argentina, securing an immaculate 1-2 finish. Maverick Viñales was in a league of his own in the 25-lap sprint, as he flew from sixth on the grid to first place. Valentino Rossi was a man with a plan for his 350th Grand Prix start and was in hot pursuit, to ultimately secure a brilliant second place.
Viñales stormed off the line from the second row and soon muscled his way to third place, putting pressure on Cal Crutchlow in second. He attacked in turn 7 on lap 3 and soon after took over the lead as Marc Marquez crashed out of the race.
Now at the front, with a clear track as far as the eye could see, the Spaniard put his head down and pulled away from the field. He was completely in his element and rode a faultless race, steadily increasing the gap to the pursuing riders. The 22-year-old crossed the line with a healthy 2.915s lead, securing his second consecutive victory on the Yamaha with ease.
This amazing achievement not only makes Viñales the first Yamaha rider since Wayne Rainey in 1990 to win the first two races of the season, but it also brings Yamahas Grand Prix win tally up to 499 victories in total.
Rossi had a brilliant start from seventh, entering the first corner side by side with Viñales to exit it in sixth place. He soon flew past Dani Pedrosa and Karel Abraham with the intention to stick to the rear wheel of his teammate. With Marquez out of the race on lap 4, the Italian moved up to third and felt the lure of a second place.
With sixteen laps to go he dipped under the 140s mark and closed right up to Crutchlow. As the riders behind them got involved in a scrap and were unable to match the pace of the three riders at the front, the Doctor had a comfortable margin of close to 5 seconds, allowing him to focus on the battle to come. The nine-time World Champion sized up the Brit carefully, choosing the best place and time to make a move.
With seven laps remaining, Rossi made a pass in turn 5 and made it stick. He followed it up with a couple of low 140s laps to inch away from Crutchlow, making it a perfect Yamaha 1-2, the first since the Grand Prix of Le Mans in 2016, when he took the chequered flag 2.915s behind his teammate.
Todays dream results see Viñales hold the lead in the championship standings with 50 points, closely followed by Rossi in second position with 36 points. Yamaha remains in the lead in the Constructors Championship with a maximum of 50 points, while the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team lead the way in the Team Championship with 86 points, 59 points ahead of Monster Yamaha Tech3 in second place.
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team will be back in action in two weeks' time at the Circuit Of The Americas in Austin, Texas, in the United States.
Position: 1st - Championship: 1st - Points: 50
We did a great job. We made the tyre decision already this morning. I feel really great! The tyres grip level was really good the entire time. I feel pretty strong and Michelin is doing a great job, I feel really happy and confident. Its like we are in a dream. I have to say thanks to the team, they are doing a great job, so lets continue like that!
Position: 2nd - Championship: 2nd - Points: 36
My mechanic, Brent, said to me on the grid Its the 350th, try to make it a good race. Im happy, because I was competitive today from the first to the last lap. I felt better physically and I trained hard so I felt good on the bike and I could push throughout the whole race. I feel that my concentration is good and also the battle with Cal was good also, because I was able to beat him. Unfortunately, Maverick was a bit faster, but this result is really important for me and the whole team, a Yamaha 1-2 is great! I dont think the results would have been different if Id passed Cal earlier in the race. Looking at the lap times, Maverick was a bit stronger and thats just the way it is today. This track is always tricky, also in the past we saw a lot of problems. Bumps and slipperiness and it also rained yesterday, so you have to pay attention and you also have to be lucky. For us this is good, because we took some important points for the championship and I also felt really good with the bike today.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - Team Director
I love Argentina more and more ! Today the team can be really proud of the show they put on. Maverick delivered again! He gave an incredible performance, from the start all the way to the end and was in complete control of the race. Looking at the timesheet, you understand that he managed the race in a perfect way, never giving his rivals the chance to close the gap. Valentino really brought things around this afternoon. He had another strong ride, from further back on the grid, and showed he can always ride over the difficulties on race day. It hasnt been an easy weekend for him, but he always worked hard to find solutions and his efforts speak for themselves when you see todays results. We have capitalised on our major competitors' misfortunes with this amazing 1-2 podium. It was another demonstration of power by Maverick; a great end to Valentinos 350th Grand Prix start and this 1-2 finish also brings Yamaha its 499th victory. We are already looking forward to the next round in Austin!
Rapid Zarco storms to 5th in Argentina Resolute Folger finishes fight in 6th
The Monster Yamaha Tech3 team riders completed a highly successful round 2 battle today after the rookies produced two notable performances aboard their Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP bikes. Johann Zarco leapt forward from 14th on the grid and quickly set a formidable pace as he climbed through the competitive field. The double Moto2 World Champion fought against the vastly experienced competitors before eventually speeding across the finish line in 5th and as the fastest rookie.
Whilst, Jonas Folger ended up one position behind his teammate to clinch a top result at the South American event. The young German kicked off his GP from the 4th row of the grid and undertook a solid start to move up to 8th by the close of the first lap. From here, he set a consistent rhythm as he pushed onwards before hunting down and muscling past Danilo Petrucci on the penultimate lap and then meeting the chequered flag in 6th.
Position: 5th - Championship: 11th - Points: 11
"Its a happy day for me and we can leave Argentina knowing that we did a good job. I began the race from 14th on the grid, but this did not concern me too much because my feeling on the bike was positive and I knew that I could ride well. In the Grand Prix, everything came together and I was able to fight and overtake my opponents. It was also a bit challenging because a lot happened in the group that I was in, but I kept calm and attacked when I could whilst I held my rhythm and position. Half way through the GP, I was fighting for 4th, but in the end, I couldnt keep up with Bautistas pace and he had a good race. I did my best and after the crash in Qatar, it was important to meet the chequered flag and get some points, but to end up in the top five is just awesome so I am very pleased with the result."
Postion: 6th - Championship: 6th - Points: 16
"I felt good on the track today and its great to finish our second race in the premier class in 6th. Initially, I was a bit worried because I was not feeling too well last night and I had to take some medicine. Anyway, I had a positive start, which is what I wanted to improve after Qatar, and then I was able to complete the first two laps in an encouraging manner. Unfortunately, I made a mistake shortly after which caused me to lose some positions, yet, I was still in 10th and so I focused on building up a good rhythm. I saw that Petrucci was fighting against his bike because he was pushing hard and burning his tyre, so I tried to save my tyre as much as possible for the end. As soon as I closed in, I was confident that I could pass him, which I managed to do. Johann was a little bit faster than me today, and he is my target. Like every Sunday, he is quick and has a really strong pace, so I have to keep working on myself to analyse what I can do to beat him. Nevertheless, we can be very happy with our performance and I cant wait to get going again in Texas."