Vinales Banks Second Consecutive Podium at San Marino GP
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales was on the hunt during the GP di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini. He spent almost the entire race positioned in third place, stalking the front runners, but came just short to enter the challenge. The stakes were high for Valentino Rossi at his home race at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. He had to make his way through the rider field, starting from P7, and pushed to the fullest to take fourth position.
Viñales stuck to his plan at the start of the San Marino GP. Starting from P1, the Spaniard had said yesterday that his strategy was not to leave any door open on the first corners on the opening lap. He did just that but didn‘t manage to break away. On lap 3 he had to relinquish the lead to fellow Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo, and one lap later also Marc Marquez came past.
The Factory Yamaha rider couldn‘t match the early pace as he didn‘t have a good feeling with the front, but he wasn‘t out for the count. He waited for the race to come to him and started to make up some ground after lap 14. He was inching closer but struggled to reduce the gap to under 2s until the final five laps. With the two leading men occupied with their own battle, the number-12 rider was riding on the limit. He came under 0.8s behind Quartararo but wasn‘t able to put in a move. Viñales took the chequered flag in third place, 1.636s from the front.
Rossi knew the first couple of tight corners at the Misano track would be crucial as 22 MotoGP bikes tried to squeeze through. The Italian had a good start from P7 and was immediately up to speed. He held his position and was chasing Álex Rins, eager to make his way to the front. The Doctor moved up a spot as the Spanish rider went wide on lap 6. It was the starting signal for the home hero‘s climb up the order.
Cheered on by the fans, he worked his way up to fifth, overtaking Pol Espargaró on lap 7, and followed it up with a personal best time on lap 9 as he was looking for a way through on Franco Morbidelli. However, the twisty Misano lay-out meant the Doctor had to be smart about where to position his Factory Yamaha to get on the inside. With eleven laps to go, he put in a move which didn‘t stick, but a text-book block pass on that same lap in Turn 14 did the trick, earning him fourth place. Rossi then had to use all his knowledge of his home circuit and make his YZR-M1 as wide as possible to keep Morbidelli at bay, and he succeeded. He held on to fourth place over the line, with a 12.660s gap to first.
Today's third place sees Viñales stay fifth in the championship standings, one place ahead of Rossi, with five points between them. Yamaha remains third in the constructor standings, and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP also stays in third place in the team classification.
Viñales and Rossi will now travel to Spain for the Gran Premio Michelin de Aragon, held from September 20-22.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team
“I‘m really happy because it was just about 1.5s to the top. We‘re getting closer at every race and we‘re trying to understand how we can be better, faster, and more consistent. This was a race in which the tarmac was very slippery, and I was there fighting for a top position. We need to keep working. We‘re starting to understand many things, but it‘s not enough yet. I have to improve, but I‘m gaining confidence in the races. Up next is Aragon, which is a track I really love and where I always feel like I can go fast. Yamaha is going in the right direction. In Silverstone Yamaha was also pretty strong. If Fabio hadn‘t crashed, for sure we would both have been close to getting the victory there. So, we‘re getting better every race. Especially on my side, I have to make another step, but we‘re going to make it. We‘re on our way and I really feel like we have the potential to fight for the victory.”
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team
“I was hoping to fight for the podium, because it would have been beautiful to hear the cheers from my fans from up there, but the race went more or less as I expected. Maybe I expected Maverick to be a bit faster and Quartararo to be a bit slower, but anyway the three in front of me had a better pace. I knew there were two or three points on the track where I was going to lose some time. We tried to fix that problem during the weekend, but unfortunately we didn't succeed. I started from seventh and it was hard: I could overtake Dovi but then I was passed by Rins. I struggled to overtake Franco because always at the point that I was going to do it, he was riding really well. I knew overtaking was going to be hard at this track, and so it was. Anyway, my pace was not as fast as the riders in front and even without the KTM in front, it would have been difficult to stay close to them. Since we‘ve restarted the championship after the summer break, we have changed many things on the bike, but I think this is our potential at this moment. The three in front today were faster, especially in the corner exits and that‘s where we are still missing something.”
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
“We had hoped to be part of the fight for the victory today, but unfortunately we came just short. Maverick had a good start, but then he felt uncomfortable with the front. It took him a while to regroup. However, he showed great pace, even better than the race leaders at times. In the last five laps he was really starting to come close, but it wasn‘t enough. But he did take the best result that was possible for him today and a second consecutive podium is encouraging. Valentino had the challenge to start from the third row, which is never an easy place to be in, but it‘s especially tricky considering how tight the first corners are here in Misano. He managed well and throughout the race he climbed up to fourth, for which he had to push until the very end of the 27 laps. We really had hoped to also have him on the podium, especially here in front of his fans. He also came close at the races in Austria and the UK, so we need to keep working, because our goal is to have both riders fighting for the win and on the podium. We have another opportunity coming our way shortly. We now all travel to Aragon for round 14 on next Sunday.”