Movistar Yamaha take Second and Fourth in Mugello Match-Up
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales ended the Gran Premio d'Italia Oakley today with a strong performance. The Spaniard held firm at the front of the field to earn a second place, his fourth podium of the season over six races. His still recovering teammate Valentino Rossi had the passionate Italian crowds at the Autodromo del Mugello in a frenzy as he battled at the front of the field. He finished the race in fourth position.
Viñales had a good start from pole and slotted in behind his fellow Movistar Yamaha rider. After a few tussles with various rivals in the opening stages, he hit the front of the field on lap four and put his head down to get a bit of daylight between him and the chasing riders. Though he was unable to completely break away, he held on to the lead for ten laps, after which he had to let Andrea Dovizioso pass.
Small mistakes in turn 15 on lap 15 and in turn one on lap 17 caused the young contender to lose some time and he found himself in third place. However, Viñales refused to give up the fight and, with four laps to go, he took back second position and was on the hunt for Dovizioso, 1.215s ahead of him. He shaved off some time in the last few laps, but decided to abort his mission on the home stretch. He crossed the line in second place, 1.281s from first, scoring valuable points for the championship.
Starting from second on the grid, Rossi had the air horns blare in the crowd as he dashed past his teammate to take the holeshot. He was joined at the front by Jorge Lorenzo, Viñales and Dovizioso. The heart rates of VR46 fans all around the world went through the roof on the opening laps, as the Doctor battled with the challenging riders. The order changed constantly, until a front group, consisting of four riders, started to form after lap seven.
While the Mugello Circuit got swamped in yellow smoke, Rossi bravely held on to third place for eight laps, until Danilo Petrucci passed him on lap 14, just when the Doctor was lining up Viñales. The nine times World Champion was initially up for the challenge to regain his position, but with his body still sore from his motocross accident, he wisely decided to bring home his YZR-M1 for a fourth-place finish. He took the chequered flag 3.685s from the front.
Viñales' second place earns him 20 points. He maintains the lead in the championship standings with a 105-point total, 30 points ahead of Rossi in third place. The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team also hold the lead in the Team standings by 44 points, with a total of 180 points, whilst Yamaha remains the top manufacturer in the Constructor's Championship by a 23-point margin, with 128 points.
The MotoGP paddock will now travel to Spain for the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, held next weekend at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Position: 1st - Championship: 1st - Points: 105
Honestly, Im so happy and pleased, because today was a day to stay on the bike. When I saw Valentino fall back and with Marc not being there at the front, I thought OK today is the day to take second place and bring home a lot of points, which is really important after the crash on Friday. Being on the bike was already very lucky, because it was a fast crash and my arm was hurting a lot, so Im very pleased for todays result. I was only feeling pain when the bike was moving but for most of the race I was feeling really good, I was at 100%. I was, as always, preparing to push on the last five laps and make my best rhythm of the race, but like I said, today was a good day to stay on the bike.
Position: 4th - Championship: 3rd - Points: 75
I knew that todays race would be more difficult than usual for me. While on the bike I rode well and I didn't have pain, but I was struggling a bit and I knew that 23 laps would be long and hard. I tried my best, I did a perfect start and I led the race for some laps, but I couldn't really ride the way I would have liked to. At the end I tried to stay close to the riders in front, but I did not have the power to attack Danilo. I would have liked a lot to be on the podium today, but there was nothing I could do. Its a bit disappointing that I'm not on the podium at Mugello, but seeing where I was few days ago, and the big hit I took, its been a positive weekend all in all. Being here and riding in front of so many fans was a gift. Now we have just few days before Catalunya, another important race, so I will try to recover and be in perfect shape in Barcelona.
It has not been a very easy weekend, but after yesterdays qualifying we were quite confident of our performance. Todays race started well with Maverick and Valentino battling at the front of the field for the lead in a group of four to five riders who all maintained a similar pace. When Maverick understood that chasing the rider in first position was too risky, he decided to take home some very important points for the championship, rather than make a mistake. Knowing Valentinos condition when he arrived here, he rode a really great race. He was on the limit of his physical abilities today, so his fourth place is a big achievement, but in my opinion he deserved a podium, considering the effort that he put in. We will now head straight to Catalunya for the next round of the championship, where we look forward to another thrilling weekend of racing.
Zarco Clinches 7th at Mugello, Folger Recovers to 13th
Johann Zarco produced a determined performance in the Tuscan hills to seize 7th at the Italian Grand Prix in front of over 100,00 passionate fans. The rapid French rider began the race from 11th on the grid and pushed nonstop as he fought in the competitive showdown. The final result today adds to his 6th place in the championship standings where he is currently the top independent rider as well as the leading rookie.
Meanwhile, Jonas Folger battled throughout the 23-lap sprint to maintain the 100% point scoring record in six races in his rookie season. He endured a difficult start whereby he fell back to 21st by the end of the second lap, yet he remained focused and mounted a notable recovery charge before eventually finishing in 13th.
Position: 7th - Championship: 6th - Points: 64
"It was a great race for me here in Mugello and I am happy with the end result. I started from 11th on the grid, which made things more difficult because I didnt have the advantage that I had in Le Mans with my qualifying position. However, I was able to keep the pace and control my rhythm but it was tricky to overtake Iannone because his acceleration was slightly better and his braking was also very strong. It took a long time to get past him and as a result, I lost contact with Marquez and Bautista and this was the group that was fighting for 5th. When I overtook Iannone, I expected to catch the two riders in front of me quite quickly, yet, I was tired because I had to force the bike a lot and I felt that my tyres had dropped a little. However, in the last five laps the group behind me caught up, but I had a great feeling on the bike and the hard tyre was working really well again, as was the front, and this meant that I could push and save this 7th position. The result is a positive thing because it was a tricky weekend and we tried to find a solution to some of the sliding issues but it was not so easy. However, once again, I gained a lot of knowledge and I gave it everything that I had, so we can leave Mugello feeling satisfied."
Position: 13th - Championship: 9th - Points: 41
"I cant hide my disappointment about today but I did my best to recover as much as possible. The issue that is limiting me is the beginning section of the race and we are unsure about how to improve the situation at the moment. We are always able to make a fast lap during the weekend, but during the GP here, I struggled to stay consistent and ride decent lap times at the start. It was not a good day and I want to move on from this. Now I have to check and find a solution so that we can step up and go faster when the lights go out. We will keep working and I will try my best once again in Catalunya."