Rossi Continues Third-Place Podium Streak in Catalunya
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Valentino Rossi has taken his third consecutive third-place finish in the 2018 MotoGP World Championship at today's Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya. Teammate Maverick Viñales endured a tough start at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. He placed mid-pack after the start but made up positions in the second half of the race to take sixth place crossing the finish line.
Rossi had a good start from seventh on the grid and stormed to fifth going into Turn 1. One lap in, he passed Andrea Iannone and was in pursuit of the three-rider front group. He wasn't quite able to match their pace at the early stages, but kept piling on the pressure, making sure he never lost touch.
With Andrea Dovizioso crashing out in lap 9, the Doctor moved up to third place. With a 3.5s gap to the leaders and over 2.5s to the rider behind him, the remaining 15 laps were a lonely ride for the Italian. He focused on maintaining the advantage and secured his third consecutive third-place finish, with a 6.098s margin to first.
Viñales had trouble getting away from fourth place on the starting grid and fell back to tenth position. He passed Bradley Smith on lap 4, and after Dovizioso crashed out the Spaniard soon overtook Iannone. He moved up to seventh and got into a battle with fellow Yamaha rider Johann Zarco. He had to let the Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider through, but cleverly stayed on his tail.
The pair started to produce multiple personal best laps and together overtook Danilo Petrucci on lap 14. Viñales was up for the fight and fired in his first attack on Zarco with 10 laps to go, but was unsuccessful. Seven laps later he put in a second attempt and grabbed sixth place. He was on a good rhythm and threatening Dani Pedrosa in fifth, but came just short. He took the chequered flag in sixth position, 10.798s from the leader.
Rossi's third place keeps him in second position in the championship standings with 88 points, 11 points ahead of teammate Viñales, who remains in third position. Yamaha moved down to third place in the Constructor Championship, with a 26-point margin to first, while the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team remain in first position in the team standings and now have a 10-point gap to the second team.
MotoGP will be back on the Montmeló track tomorrow for a one-day test. After that they will return to action for the Motul TT Assen round, held at the TT Circuit Assen from June 29th - July 1st.
Position: 3rd - Championship: 2nd - Points: 88
"Yesterday, after the practice sessions, I saw that my rivals were a bit faster than I was. I was very close to the second group, but this morning we improved the settings with my team, together with Silvano, and then I had better turning and could go a bit faster. After that I wasn't far off, but unfortunately just not close enough. Later Dovi made a mistake and I arrived on the podium. I'm happy because last year at this race track we struggled a lot - it was a disaster - while this year I was able to keep up the pace until the last lap, in a good way. These are also important points for the championship, because I've gained a small advantage to defend second place and we have to continue like this."
Position: 6th - Championship: 3rd - Points: 77
"I had a lot of trouble in the first laps, especially at the start, I seem to be the only Yamaha to have problems, I really don't understand it. I need to have the possibility to start well and then, for sure, it's going to be another race. When I'm alone on the track I can do the same rhythm as Jorge and Marc. We need to keep working, stay focused on our side, to be strong. It's difficult right now, but we'll keep pushing. I know that when the bike is good I'm there at the front, that's why I'm calm."
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - Team Director
"Looking back at the struggles we faced last year, today's third place by Valentino is a good result. He found a solution in the warm up and made the right tyre choice, even though we took a bit of a gamble as none of the front tyre specs were a perfect fit. He had a really good start and managed the gap to fourth place well. It's a pity that Maverick was unable to finish higher than he did. This weekend he worked hard with his team in all practice sessions to have a good pace in the earlier laps, but unfortunately he got stuck mid-pack after a difficult start and couldn't quite get into a fast rhythm until the second half of the race. We will continue to work hard tomorrow at the one-day test here in Montmeló. We'll use today's data to compare some new options."
Zarco Seals Important Points in Action Packed Catalan GP
Monster Yamaha Tech3 star Johann Zarco showed a brave performance today at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Following a difficult start, the fast Frenchman found himself in 12th spot after the first lap and started his comeback. Lap by lap he made up positions, getting out the most of himself and his Yamaha YZR-M1and eventually saw the chequered flag in seventh.
On the other side of the garage, Hafizh Syahrin did an incredible race, after launching off the line from P14, he performed in a determined way, whereas he fought his way through to ninth. Unfortunately, he highsided with just a few laps to go and therefore, already sets his sights on the Dutch Grand Prix, where he aims to make up for the lost points in just 12 days' time.
Position: 7th - Championship: 4th - Points: 73
"This has been a difficult race. The pace was quite ok, but I had many unlucky moments during the race. The start was good, but then I had to close the gas between two riders, so I lost positions. I could not find a place to overtake and later on, when I was ready to pass, it was a yellow flag, so I had to slow down again. There were many moments that lowered my pace a bit and then I really tried to manage all the race and catch Pedrosa and Crutchlow. I was almost able to do it, but then I was tired and holding the bike became more and more difficult. Viñales caught me and I had to finish in seventh position. It's not a disaster, we are still pretty good in the Championship, pretty good to fight for the second place overall. Rossi is in this position at the moment and he has to be very clever to keep it, I want to be clever, too. I think we are on a good way together with my crew, we just have to keep working in this good direction and keep trusting that once everything will be understood well, I will be able to be back on the podium."
Position: DNF - Championship: 17th - Points: 17
"I felt really good during the race, but just made a mistake and went wide. I tried to come back to the right line and I had a highside immediately, so I crashed out. I'm truly sorry to the team. I try to learn from this mistake and I try to come back stronger. We could finish inside the top 9, but it was not meant to be. I can't express, how sorry I feel for my guys and my sponsors and everybody, that supports me. I promise, I try to make up for this in the next round."
Monster Yamaha Tech3 - Team Manager
"We had a tough weekend here in Montmeló. We knew from the practices and the Qualifying that it will not be easy. The start of the race was average, still I think Johann put his head down and pushed all race long. He managed to have a very steady pace and climbed up to seventh. We have to take the positives. Although the races have not been easy, we are fourth in the Championship, just a few points away from third, so everything is still open and clearly, as I said in Mugello before, we need to score points everywhere. It was not a brilliant weekend, but in the end, we managed to score some good points. We stay here for another day tomorrow and maybe we can learn and understand a bit more. On Hafizh' side, I'm really disappointed, because all weekend long, he was showing a really unbelievable pace and was by far the best rookie. Five laps to go, he was in a strong position with nobody threatening him and the board was clear. All I can say is, that this was a big mistake, but apart from that he has done a great weekend, he has been fast all the time, which will give him confidence. I think he would have really liked to finish this race. Barcelona is his second home GP, he lives here and has many friends here, so this is a bitter feeling. Never mind, he is only two points behind Morbidelli in the rookie ranking and we have many more races. Hopefully, he can learn more tomorrow and then Assen will be a bit sweeter."