2018 MotoGP of Austria - Red Bull Ring / Spielberg
Rossi Rides Strong Comeback Race to Sixth at the Red Bull Ring
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Valentino Rossi turned his fortunes around today at the eyetime Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich, claiming a strong 6th place after a superb comeback race. Maverick Viñales had a more challenging outing at the Red Bull Ring - Spielberg track, but made up ground in the second half of the race to finish in 12th position.
Rossi started from 14th on the grid and was wary of the first lap, when the busy mid-pack of the rider field would be diving into the tight first corner, but he managed the situation well. He finished his first lap in 11th place, trying to be both on the attack and the defensive. At the start of lap 4 the provisional rider order settled, and the Italian was in tenth place chasing fellow Yamaha-rider Johann Zarco. Two laps later he got the job done, taking ninth.
The battle for eighth with Aleix Espargeró took the nine-time World Champion a bit longer, but he prevailed with 19 laps to go. He then had to bridge a gap to Tito Rabat. Ten laps later he could make his move, successfully securing seventh place, but he had to do yet more work to close the over 2.5s gap to Álex Rins. It was a big ask, but the Doctor was up to the task and four laps before the end he got the job done. Rossi had to continue pushing 100% for the remainder of the race to keep Dani Pedrosa at bay. All the while he was closing in on Danilo Petrucci in fifth, but he came just short of being able to confront him, crossing the line in sixth place, 14.026s from first.
Viñales was determined to avoid history repeating itself this afternoon, after Brno's first lap crash last weekend. He had a decent start from 11th on the grid but needed a few laps to get up to speed. He fell back to 16th place, yet gradually upped his pace. As Andrea Iannone went wide, the Spaniard gained a position. He followed it up with a red first sector on lap 11, the first of many, signalling the start of his charge.
He soon moved up to 13th place and was on the tail of Álvaro Bautista. He followed his compatriot past Aleix Espargaró but wasn't able to keep up. The last quarter of the race was a lonely run for the number 25 rider. As his soft rear tyre began to deteriorate, the Spaniard focused on holding on to his twelfth position to score some important points for the championship. He took the chequered flag with a 22.939s margin to the race leader.
Today's results see Rossi remain in second position in the championship standings with 59 points to first and 29 points ahead of teammate Viñales, who is now in fifth position. Yamaha holds third place in the Constructor Championship after the race in Spielberg, with a 53-point margin to first, while the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team are now in third position in the team standings with a 12-point gap to first.
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team will be back in action at the Silverstone Circuit for the GoPro British Grand Prix, held from August 24th - 26th.
Position: 6th – Championship: 2nd – Points: 142
"I was able to enjoy the race, because I could recover a lot of positions and do some good overtaking, and nobody overtook me. This morning we tried something different that I liked. Unfortunately, I wasn't faster, but I was able to keep my pace more consistent and use the rear tyre less. I started well, but I was in the rider pack. I had some hard battles at the beginning, but after I could recover. If I could have taken part in Q2 and started a little more towards the front, maybe then I could have fought with Petrucci, but from Crutchlow on there was no way because they were faster than us. We'll try to improve for the next race."
Position: 12th – Championship: 5th – Points: 113
"For me the race was OK, I didn't have any new problems, but we do have issues on the bike, especially at the start, when the bike didn't have any power. It's something I don't understand, because we worked quite well the last two weekends to make good starts and here it was impossible. We'll be focusing on Silverstone and will try to forget this weekend. Now I will go to Misano for our test and try to enjoy the riding and see if we can improve."
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - Team Director
"After yesterday's qualifying results the team worked really hard to prepare something for the riders to up their chances for the race. Starting from the middle of the grid is always a bit dangerous, it's busy and unpredictable. Nevertheless, both our riders emerged from the opening lap unscathed. Vale did a great job riding to sixth place, especially considering the start to the weekend we had these past two days. It's a shame Maverick's rhythm in the middle of the race couldn't be capitalized on at the end, to have both riders inside the top-10. We will certainly take lessons from this race day. Now we will regroup and then focus our attention on next week's test in Misano."
Hard Fought Austrian GP Delivers top 9 for Zarco and Huge Experience for Syahrin
The Monster Yamaha Tech3 duo performed bravely today in Spielberg for the eleventh round of the 2018 MotoGP World Championship to conquer a ninth and a 16th position. Knowing that the Austrian circuit would be a tough challenge for him and his Yamaha YZR-M1, Johann Zarco did his best to convert his second row start into a decent race result, giving his all to eventually reaching ninth in a hot and intense 28 laps clash.
Following the first lap, Hafizh Syahrin was battling hard to come back from 21st. The Malaysian rookie made up one position after another and was able to keep his strong pace from the first to the last lap, where he had a tough run to the finish line, eventually ending up in 16th place, where he missed out on the points scoring positions by just 0.271 seconds. Before the entire championship settles over to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix in 12 days' time, Syahrin defends his lead in the incredibly close Rookie of the Year classification.
Position: 9th – Championship: 7th – Points: 104
"It has been a difficult race today. I expected to have a better pace, to be honest. I chose the soft tyre because it was the one I had the best feeling with, but it wasn't easy. In the first corner I lost too many positions and then I was not able to catch back up, so I was struggling. I tried to do the best, but I was too slow. Even when Valentino overtook me, I thought I could find a better pace, but it was not possible. So I had to finish the race and in the end it was kind of funny. It was maybe my best moment in the race when Bautista passed me and we were catching up on Tito. On the last lap we had a great fight, overtook each other a few times. In the last corner I took advantage and finally was able to finish ninth. It's not a great result, but not the end of the world, even on a track I like."
Position: 16th – Championship: 16th – Points: 24
"The race was really good regarding my rhythm, but I was a bit disappointed about myself because I didn't do a good Qualifying. This track is not easy for the Yamaha machine and we missed some sessions because of the weather, so we didn't do many kilometers on this track. As I'm here for the first time with the GP bike, I realized that the circuit looks easy on the paper, but in some corners we need some traction to have a good drive. In the race the bike was really good for me, I could do the pace like the top 10 in every lap, it's just a shame that I was so far back. On the first lap I needed to start to pass many riders that were slower than me. The last lap was truly good, I thought I could pass Nakagami, but in the end it didn't work out. Next race, I try to improve my Qualifying, which is very important now as we know that we can be really strong in the race. I need to work very hard and I'm looking forward to the next GP."
Monster Yamaha Tech3 - Team Manager
"We knew this weekend wouldn't be easy and in the end, it wasn't. Johann did the best he can and I would like to thank him one more time for his never-give-up-attitude. The Qualifying was the highlight of the weekend for sixth position, first Yamaha, second row and it was quite a long time we weren't on the second row. So, we were quite positive and hopeful of an ok result. He started average and was in a group where there were a lot of touches and they were messing with each other, so they lost contact with the leading group. Once he got his head down and found his rhythm he has been fighting all race long. In the end I think, he is not where he wants to be and not where we want him to be. We do the best we can with our package and we know it will not change and be the same until Valencia. We just try to continue the way we are doing, trying to keep positive and not have a negative attitude. I think in this tough moment is where you learn a lot. It's not easy and it's always so much easier to fight for top positions, but I think this will help him for his future career and clearly next year. That's the main lesson - continue to get the best out of our package, keeping a positive attitude, believing in each other; him in the team and the team in him and maybe some circuits will be easier for us. We knew that Honda and Ducati were almost impossible to beat here, so we just need to carry on pushing. Hafizh did a really good race, not like in Czech Republic and not on the media and TV radar one more time. He had a slow start, but recovered really well, got some guys like Miller behind him, finished ahead of Franco Morbidelli and right behind Takaaki Nakagami. I think with one more lap he would have maybe been able to get one more position because he was a lot quicker than the two of them. 16th is not the best result, but he learned a lot today and I think this is what we are expecting from him. I'm proud of Hafizh and on what he did today because the whole race was truly competitive, fast from the start to the end and he did a good job. These two races back to back were a bit tough, now we have a few days off and then it's time to go to Silverstone."