Movistar Yamaha Score 5th and 7th at Drama-Packed Spanish GP
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales' persistence earned them valuable points for the championship today. They pushed to the fullest at a hot and slippery Circuito de Jerez - Ángel Nieto, securing fifth and seventh place respectively.
Rossi had a good start from tenth position on the grid and quickly moved up a spot. Despite the track being crowded with 25 riders simultaneously trying to squeeze through the tight corners of the Jerez track, he held firm as he crossed the line for the first time. Over the next few laps he battled with Andrea Iannone, but wasn't able to cling on to the back of his compatriot's bike. When two rivals ahead of him crashed out of the race in the early stages, the Doctor found himself in eighth position, after he had to let Danilo Petrucci through.
The Italian then focused on defending his position from an approaching Jack Miller and managed the gap perfectly. He bided his time until he felt the bike come to him with eight laps to go and launched an attack on Petrucci, but was unable to make it stick. Yet, as three further frontrunners crashed out of the race, he moved up to fifth position and was consequently part of the group battling for third place. Miller passed Rossi on lap 20, but two laps later the nine-time World Champion retaliated and was digging deep to bridge the gap to the riders in front. He was making serious strides, but came just short, taking the chequered flag in fifth place, 8.743s from first.
Viñales had a difficult start to the 25-lap race. He shadowed his teammate in the first lap, in tenth position, but fell back to thirteenth place on the fourth lap. As some rivals crashed out, he moved up two positions, but had to hand one back when Alvaro Bautista passed him on lap 7.
The Yamaha rider was keen on pleasing his fans, who had travelled from far and wide to watch his home Grand Prix. He was pushing hard to keep posting low 1'40s and, as multiple riders crashed out of the race on lap 18, he moved further up the order to ninth place. The young fighter seized the opportunity and started to gain momentum. He overtook Franco Morbidelli two laps later and put his head down, setting his fastest lap of the race in lap 21. He was consistently closing in on Bautista and made his move two laps before the end to take a hard-fought seventh place, 13.543s from the leader.
Today's race results see Viñales staying in third place in the championship standings, with 50 points. Rossi gained a place, holding sixth with a 40-point total. Yamaha remains second in the Constructor Championship with 76 points, while Movistar Yamaha MotoGP is still in first position in the Team Championship, having scored 90 points.
The team will be back on track tomorrow in Jerez, Spain, for a one-day official IRTA-test, followed by a private test in Italy later next week.
Position: 5th - Champtionship: 6th - Points: 40
"Fifth place, with my pace this weekend, is not so bad. I was also lucky because three guys in front of me crashed. We gave the maximum and today the race was quite good, but unfortunately this is our potential now. I was a lot faster compared to last year, but it's not enough to fight for the podium. If we want to try to fight for the podium and the victory, we have to speed up our development process. I hope we can do so soon."
Position: 7th - Championship: 3rd - Points: 50
"We were a little lucky because some riders made a mistake and we could jump up the leaderboard. I was unable to go fast from the first lap and I was struggling a lot to stay with Morbidelli and Bautista. At the end I had a little bit more grip and I pushed, so I was a little bit stronger than Alvaro, but we can't be happy with seventh place. At the moment I'm mostly focused on the setting of the bike - we're not so far off a solution. The bike is working well, but we still need to work. We tried to solve it by changing the set-up, but I don't think that what we tried is the way forward. We have to continue to give our all to get the best results we can at the next race."
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - Team Director
"The Spanish GP is always a spectacle, but nobody could have predicted the dramatic incidents that happened today. We knew we had a difficult race ahead of us. The track conditions in today's heat were not easy and this is highlighted by the many crashes we saw this afternoon. Vale and Maverick both struggled in middle of the race, but their pace seemed to get stronger towards the end. Vale pushed as much as he could and was very close to landing a place on the podium. Maverick also ended the day scoring some valuable points, so he remains in third place in the championship. Tomorrow we have another day of testing at this circuit, which we will use to find some solutions. The Jerez test is always important, because we can use it to do back-to-back setting comparisons. We have to keep working to increase our bike's performance, so we get back to the level where we belong."
Clever Zarco Conquers Outstanding Second Place – Syahrin Shows Greatest Determination to Finish the Spanish GP
With some luck and a very solid race, Johann Zarco claimed his second podium in 2018. Thereby, the Monster Yamaha Tech3 star, who concluded the fourth race of the season as the best Yamaha rider of the field, also took over the second spot in the World Championship standings, less than two weeks before the eagerly awaited home round of the Tech3 Team and the French rider.
At the same time, Hafizh Syahrin delivered an exceptional performance in gritting his teeth to the end of the demanding 27 laps race at the Jerez Circuit, missing out on the points scoring positions by just a whisker. The MotoGP rookie was suffering a lot after a bicycle crash on Monday, but managed to see the chequered flag, while gaining even more experience in the premier class.
Position: 2nd - Championship: 2nd - Points: 58
"Sometimes I need some luck and today was good. Starting from third position was a great opportunity. I could be a bit faster than Pedrosa in the beginning, but he was a bit better in acceleration and then I never had enough margin to overtake him on the brake. I was not able to do it. It was difficult, but then I was in fifth position and hoped to catch this front group again, even if Marquez was going away, there was still the fight for the podium. I was always trusting, that it's possible to catch them and I was doing my race. When I saw them crashing all three together, I couldn't believe it. I told myself, keep calm, we have a big advantage, it's just seven laps to go and it's important to bring it home, being focus and enjoy. 20 points in the Championship are just awesome."
Position: 16th - Championship: 16th - Points: 9th
"I've done the fourth race in Jerez, but I was struggling with my body, because I suffered from Friday and today I felt honestly worse than yesterday. Therefore, I was really fighting in the middle of the race, I didn't have any energy left to ride the bike properly because of my pain. Maybe I used too much of my energy in the beginning. Anyway, I'm happy with the team, because they did a really great job! I'm sorry for them, but our target was to try to finish the race and to learn as much as possible, which is exactly what we've done. Plus, we were very close to the points. I'll recover now and try to do a good race for our team's home Grand Prix in Le Mans."
Monster Yamaha Tech3 - Team Manager
"That was an unbelievable race and this is what is MotoGP is all about. Until the chequered flag is down, you never know what's going to happen. Johann did a great race, was holding on fifth and there was nothing he could do more. We saw, that the guys in front were above the rest of the field. We were chasing and increasing the gap to the ones following. Fifth was quite good, but it happened what happened. For me it was a racing incident, bad luck for Dovizioso, Lorenzo and Pedrosa, but it's part of the game. Thanks to that and with Johann's consistency, never giving up, we managed to get the second spot for the second time this year, plus second in the provisional ranking, which makes us very, very happy and also shows, it doesn't matter which bike you have, which material, the rpm, the engine - it's a question of man, machine and the team. I'm very proud that Monster Yamaha Tech3 is able to show that and to give the hope to everyone on the grid, that you can do it. Great job from our crew, great job from Johann as usual, thanks Yamaha and also Michelin for the good technical package. Hafizh was another story, he had a very tough weekend. Honestly, I told him on Friday night, that I don't think it is wise to race and it's better to recover and be ready for the next round in France, but he told me he wants to race and to continue. He missed the points by one position, which is also showing his huge determination. I want to thank him for this. He was in extreme pain, but still he had a decent race, so all I hope is, that he is not cycle downhill anymore and we have him back at full fitness for the French Grand Prix in Le Mans, where there will be many guys coming to support Johann and the whole Tech3 Team."