Viñales Fiercely Fights Off Rivals for Fourth in Misano
Under today's gloomy skies, at a soaked Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, the air was filled with tension as Maverick Viñales made his appearance on the starting grid for the Tribul Mastercard GP S.Marino e Riviera di Rimini. However, the sole Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider remained calm and collected, securing fourth place in a very slippery race.
With his teammate Valentino Rossi unable to compete in his home Grand Prix due to injury, Viñales had to fly the Movistar Yamaha flag alone, and all eyes were on him as he started from pole. After a good launch off the line, he entered the first corner with caution, slotting into fourth place. He took a couple of laps to get heat into his tyres, after a small wobble on lap 2 gave him a warning of just how tricky the wet track conditions were. Danilo Petrucci passed the Yamaha rider at the start of lap 3, but the Spaniard had a plan.
Viñales gradually upped his pace in each sector, trying to determine the limit whilst having to contend with a lack of rear grip in most of the left corners. He set consecutive personal best laps, but he had to keep an eye on his pursuers at the same time. He got into a fight with Cal Crutchlow and Jack Miller, which lost him some valuable time, but the battle was short-lived.
Crutchlow was soon caught out by the treacherous conditions of the race, allowing the number 25 rider to seize the opportunity. Back in fourth position on lap 7, as Jorge Lorenzo crashed out of the lead, the 22-year-old could pick up where he left off and started to better his rhythm again. He steadily broke away from Michele Pirro and Miller, opening an over 2-second gap. Viñales had a lonely ride in the final stages of the race, though he didn't stop pushing for even a second. He ultimately took the chequered flag in fourth place, 16.559s from first.
Today's results keep Viñales in third place in the championship standings, 16 points behind the joint leaders and 26 points ahead of Rossi, who holds on to fourth place in the standings. The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team is in second place in the Team Championship, with a nine-point margin to first. Yamaha is also in second place in the Constructor Championship with a five-point gap to the top of the rankings.
The MotoGP paddock will next head to the MotorLand Aragón for round 14, the Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón, held from September 22nd - 24th.
Position: 4th - Championship: 3rd - Points: 170
"I'm happy with the result, because it is the best we could do. Honestly, today we asked 100% of the bike. I tried to get the best result and today that was fourth. We have to continue to work in the same way, because today was a good improvement compared to the wet race at the Sachsenring, especially the handling of the bike. We still need a lot of grip on the traction, so we have to keep going. I'll have to push in Aragón and believe we can close the 16-point gap to our rivals. On the dry we were really fast, I'm happy we made another step here in Misano. I hope we can do the same in Aragón."
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - Team Director
"Today's race was really difficult. We only had this morning's 20-minute warm up to prepare a wet set-up and it was clear that the track conditions were going to be very tricky. Maverick stuck to his original plan of riding at his own pace and he did a good job holding off his rivals, which is especially challenging when the track conditions are changing throughout the race. Moreover, Maverick had to manage his race pace whilst suffering from a lack of rear grip in most of the left corners. Nevertheless, he didn't get lured into making mistakes and secured some very valuable points for the championship. We now look forward to the next Grand Prix in Aragón, in two weeks' time, which is a very special event for the team, as we share the title sponsor."
Resolute Folger Snatches 9th in San Marino Heroic Zarco Seals 15th After Bad luck Strikes on Final Lap
Monster Yamaha Tech3 team rider Jonas Folger produced a tireless effort to claim 9th in the highly challenging San Marino GP. The young German began the soaking wet race from 16th on the grid and undertook a decent start to move up two places by the close of the first lap. He maintained his consistency in the tricky conditions before finishing the grueling GP inside the top ten, marking a positive close to the weekend.
Meanwhile, Johann Zarco suffered bad luck on the final lap of the race but showed great determination as he wheeled his Yamaha across the finish line after running out of fuel. The rapid French rider began from 6th and ran a formidable pace throughout the sprint, as he held 7th whilst heading into the last lap. The issue then struck but Zarco memorably pushed his bike down the start finish straight to clinch 15th.
Position: 9th - Championship: 10th - Points: 84
"I am not so happy about this weekend overall, but I did my best. Qualifying was a different story compared to today because I felt good in the dry conditions. In the wet warm up, we decided to change something but we were a little bit unlucky because by the end of the race we understand that it was the wrong direction with the setting. I struggled with the rear grip and the turning in the last part of the GP but eventually, I finished 9th, however, this was due to Johann's bike giving up. We didn't have the speed so I am a bit disappointed as I expected more, especially in the wet. Now, we have to look onwards to Aragon."
Position: 15th - Championship: 6th - Points: 110
"It was challenging but tough for everyone. In the warm up I saw that I wasn't as strong as I would have liked, but then at the beginning of the Grand Prix, I felt quite good. I was happy to have control and see that the other riders were not much faster than me. I stayed focused and then I saw Crutchlow and Lorenzo crash, who are dangerous for me in the championship. Because they fell, it made me realise how difficult the conditions were for everyone. The race was long but step-by-step it got less wet, although it did not dry and this gave me some confidence but not as much as I expected. I had to stay focused and in the end, I was managing the gap to Redding quite well so I thought that everything was in order for the last lap. However, I had no more fuel from turn 11, which was a shame. I did my best to preserve the fuel until the last corner but then the bike stopped and I had to push it on the home straight and that was long. Some riders overtook me and it's a big pity but I made sure that I got to the end because it's the racing mind. I finished 15th, which equals one championship point but it is better than nothing."