Movistar Yamaha Delight with Stunning Double Podium in Silverstone
Today's Octo British Grand Prix brought lots of thrills for the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team, including a double podium as the end result. Maverick Viñales perfectly managed his rear tyre life to challenge for the win in the final stages, and secured a brilliant and hard-fought second position. Teammate Valentino Rossi kept up a superb pace and led for most of the race, but was unable to fend off the competition in the final stages and took third place.
Viñales had a good launch from fourth and held his position into the first corner. With his teammate attempting to take off at the front, he decided to make an assertive start, swiftly moving past Cal Crutchlow for third. He then lined up Marc Marquez overtaking him on lap 3, so he could chase Rossi, who by then had created a gap of over one second.
The Spaniard pushed to the limit and looking threatening with an, on average, 0.5s margin to his teammate. He nearly was able to make his first attempt at taking over the lead, when Andrea Dovizioso made a move with ten laps to go, which was the start of an intense battle for second place. Viñales fell back behind Marquez to fourth, while the scrapping allowed Rossi some breathing space, but the battle wasn't over.
As Marquez retired from the race, the number 25 rider was able to fight his way back to the leading group and passed his teammate for second place with two laps to go. He then put the hammer down, giving Dovizioso a run for his money, but came just 0.114s short and finished the race in second place.
Today Rossi became the first rider in history to start his 300th premier class Grand Prix and showed no signs of slacking off in the 20-lap Silverstone race. He had a flying start from second, taking the holeshot, and immediately put his head down to open up a nearly one second gap over the first two laps.
He was looking to check out, and held the lead for most of the race, but his championship rivals had different thoughts and were in hot pursuit. Dovizioso tagged onto the back of the Doctor's Yamaha, but the veteran made his experience count. He perfectly managed the pace at the front, keeping his compatriot at bay until three laps to go, when Rossi was put into the claws of Viñales, who pushed him to third.
As his rear tyre life dropped, the nine-time World Champion decided to take third place and crucial championship points, crossing the line 0.635s from first.
Today's results see Viñales and Rossi hold third and fourth place respectively in the championship standings, the former with a 13-point margin to the leader, the latter with a 26-point gap to first. Yamaha holds its lead in the Constructor rankings with 7 points, and the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team reclaimed the top spot in the Team championship classification with a 5-point lead.
The MotoGP paddock will be back in action in a fortnight, when they will battle at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli during the Gran Premio Tribul Mastercard di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini.
Position: 2nd - Championship: 3rd - Points: 170
"It was difficult, but I think we managed the race really well, especially with the electronics, we were really strong in all the areas. I think we did a good job. This weekend we came back, feeling strong again and that's the positive point, especially during the last part of the race, during which we weren't really strong before. This time we were the fastest on the last laps, so we are going to try to be more competitive and even stronger in the next races. I knew that on the last laps my bike was really good, so I was just trying to keep the pace and the concentration and save the tyres until the end. For sure, I was able to do really good laps in the beginning, but then the tyre would have dropped a lot, so I was thinking about doing the other step: go slowly in the beginning and pushing at the end and this was the result. I was catching Dovi on the last lap and trying my best. I set one of my best laps on the last one, so I gave it everything to catch him, but honestly, today, second place was the best we could do. We have to be happy that we're working in the correct way again."
Position: 3rd - Championship: 4th - Points: 157
"I'm satisfied because it was a great race for me. I was able to ride really well after a great start and I stayed in front and rode on the limit without making mistakes, so I enjoyed it a lot for 17 laps. I think this is a good way to celebrate my 300th race in MotoGP's premier class. There remains a bit of frustration, because I knew on the last laps I would suffer a bit with the degradation of the rear tyre, but I think this weekend we improved a lot. We're still not at the top, we have to do better if we want to try to win, but it was a good weekend."
"Today's race results were a well-deserved reward for our riders and crew members and a testament to their hard work over the last few weeks. Maverick chose to use the soft rear tyre, as it gave him a good feeling on the Friday and during the warm up, and he managed the tyre life really cleverly by pacing himself until the very end of the race. He came incredibly close to catching Dovizioso on the last lap, but just missed out and finished second. It was great to see Vale lead the race for 17 laps with a lot of confidence, especially during his 300th Grand Prix start milestone. It was a shame that the tyre degradation meant he wasn't able to defend his position at the end, but he rode a faultless race, and he and Maverick recovered a good amount of championship points today, which could prove to be crucial at the end of the season. This result gives us a lot of confidence, especially after the last two races. We're now going to Misano, where we had a really positive test last week, so we have strong intentions to get a top result there too."
Zarco Conquers Silverstone in 6th Unfortunate Folger Sits Out British GP
Monster Yamaha Tech3 team rider Johann Zarco produced a superb display today in front of an ecstatic crowd to finish 6th. The rapid French star lunged forward from 8th on the grid and as the distance dialled down, he fearlessly battled on. Zarco ran a phenomenal pace in the second half of the race, which matched the leading group and his final result strengthens his position as the top independent rider in the championship standings, and in 6th.
On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team garage, Jonas Folger was forced to withdraw from the British Grand Prix after falling heavily in the morning warm up. He was taken to the medical centre following the crash and was deemed unfit to ride as a precaution by the medical staff. The decision marks a disappointing end to the weekend, however, he will seek to bounce back at the San Marino Grand Prix in a fortnight's time.
Position: 6th - Championship: 6th - Points: 109
"I am pretty happy with the final result. The race was positive but the start was tricky for me and it took some time to overtake Pol Espargaro. Once I got past him, I was very consistent throughout the sprint but the leading group ran a really strong pace and in the end, I couldn't make the difference to catch them. However, Marquez had a problem, which allowed me to gain a position. So then, I fought with Lorenzo and I believed that I could beat him, but he kept some energy and finally he was quicker. The last two laps were tricky because I was sliding a bit too much, but I definitely made a positive choice with the tyres. I still need to work with the team to find the good setup and riding style to be able to do almost the same lap time from the start to the finish. Ten points are good and I've gained some ground on Pedrosa in the championship, which is positive. So overall, I have learnt a lot, I was competitive all weekend and I finished not far from the first guy."
Monster Yamaha Tech3 - Team Manager
"Before I begin, I want to say that we were all sad to not have Jonas on the grid with us today. He worked hard all weekend to beat a stomach virus and showed good form on Saturday. We were really hopeful for today because he felt better than yesterday and we were confident that he could deliver a strong performance at this track, which he likes. Unfortunately, there was an issue on his out lap in warm up and he had a very fast crash. Luckily he is ok, but the doctor wisely decided to not let him start. This was a shame but the positive point is that he is fully fit and we really hope that he will have the luck that he finally deserves in Misano and I'm sure he is going to be fast there. Meanwhile, Johann Zarco once again produced a magnificent ride. This time his start was not as good as at some of the other races, and he was blocked by a couple of the slower riders and it took him a few laps to get out of this group. Yet, once he was clear, he lapped as quickly or sometimes even faster than the guys in front and this is a pity because he could have been with the front group. Anyway, I want to congratulate Johann who was very quick and he collected some important points, which strengthens his position as the top independent rider in the championship so we are very proud and happy with him. I want to also congratulate Yamaha because it's good to see them back in front with three YZR-M1's in the top six. I'm sure we are going to have some more interesting races and the championship is closer than ever so we are excited already for Misano."