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Vinales Collects Fourth Place and Important Championship Points in Japan

Vinales Collects Fourth Place and Important Championship Points in Japan

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales was pushing for a podium finish during Yamaha's home GP at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit. He came close but finished today‘s race in fourth place. Team-mate Valentino Rossi had a difficult start to the Motul Grand Prix of Japan yet continued to show great determination. He fought himself back up the rankings from 14th to 10th, but a small crash on lap 21 ended his challenge.

Viñales started from fourth and held the position coming through the first turn, manoeuvring himself on the inside, but when the pack flicked it left for the next corner, he lost two places. He completed the first lap in seventh but was still close to the riders in front of him, who were all battling for second.

The Spaniard made his way up to sixth on lap 3 and started shadowing Andrea Dovizioso‘s every move. Together they overtook Jack Miller and Franco Morbidelli, with barely any daylight between them. Riding in fourth place, the number-12 rider was clearly pushing for a podium result but wasn't able to put in a move. He took the chequered flag 2.608s from first.

Rossi had a difficult start to the Japanese GP, launching off 10th place on the grid, and completed lap 1 in 14th place. The Italian had his work cut out for him, but he was getting through the task gradually, gaining a position in the next two laps and another one two laps after that.

Now in 12th position, the Doctor put pressure on Pol Espargaró and passed him on lap 8. The next challenge for him was to close a 2.8s gap for a place inside the top 10. By the end of lap 12 he arrived at the back of Danilo Petrucci‘s bike and by lap 15 he started a tug of war for 10th place. The Doctor was in 11th when a sudden small crash in Turn 1 on lap 21 ended his race.

Today's fourth place sees Viñales hold fourth in the championship standings, equalling the point tally of the rider in third place. Rossi now finds himself in seventh place in the overall rankings, 31 points behind his team-mate. Yamaha remains third in the constructor standings, and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP also stay in third place in the team classification.

The team will resume the MotoGP action at the Phillip Island circuit next weekend for the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, held from October 25th - 27th.

Maverick Viñales

Actually, for me it was a very positive race. At the start I did a lot of fighting with Cal and Dovi. I tried to overtake quickly, but it was very difficult. At the end I found a very good rhythm on the last laps, trying to fight for the podium with Dovi, but somehow I couldn't overtake. We made the most of our bike in this race and we'll try to do more in Australia. I will do my best in Phillip Island, I will try to push and start from the front row, I think that's very important. If we had started from first row today, we might have been able to fight for the race. We need to keep working, we're very close, we just need a little bit more, which we'll find for sure. Phillip Island is a track I really like, but anyway I will go there with the same expectations as I had for here, trying to work very hard and to be on the podium again.

Valentino Rossi

I had quite a bad start, not in the first corner but after that I was in the middle of the chaos and lost time. My pace wasn‘t good enough to gain positions fast. I managed to recover a few, but I wasn‘t very strong. On some laps my pace wasn‘t so bad, but everybody was fast, so that made it very difficult to challenge from behind. I haven‘t seen the data yet, but I think I made a small mistake at the end, in Turn 1, and I crashed. It was a difficult race.

Massimo Meregalli

We had hoped for more in today's race. Maverick lost a few positions on the busy opening lap and it took some time for him to recover them. Looking at the pace he had during the race, it cost him a podium. Anyway, he scored important points that allow him to be a serious contender for third place in the rider standings, which he can continue to fight for next weekend in Australia. Today definitely was worse for Valentino. He was already further down the starting grid than he would have liked, on the fourth row, and on top of that he had a difficult start. Later his race was ended by a small crash in Turn 1, four laps before the chequered flag. Luckily, he was uninjured. It was a weekend to forget for him, but we get to start with a clean slate on Friday at the Phillip Island circuit.