The Gran Premio de España promised to be a red-hot battle and it certainly delivered. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales led the race in the opening laps and later vigorously fought for and defended his second place, to take 20 valuable championship points. Valentino Rossi didn’t find a good pace and was ultimately unable to finish the race due to a technical issue.
Viñales had a dream start from P2 on the grid, taking the holeshot. Having gambled on the soft front tyre, the opening stages were crucial for the Yamaha rider. A big moment in Turn 8 was a sign of how hard he was pushing, but he skillfully kept the YZR-M1 in the lead, completing the first lap of 2020 as the race leader.
On lap 3 of 25 the action that MotoGP fans had been craving ensued. Viñales and Marc Marquez scrapped for P1. The number-12 rider fought back brilliantly and kept stalking his compatriot, applying pressure. Marquez went wide in Turn 4 and off track, allowing the Yamaha to blitz past.
It looked like the race was going Viñales’ way, but tyre degradation spoiled the party. A wobble on lap 8 let Fabio Quartararo and Jack Miller close in, and going wide again in the last corner meant the home hero was now in third place. But he regrouped quickly and prepared to make a comeback.
With 7 laps to go, he attacked Miller in Lorenzo’s corner to regain second place. Marc Marquez was again right on his YZR-M1’s tail a few laps later. While Viñales was preparing for another head-to-head with him, the 93-rider suffered a monstrous crash exiting Turn 3. During the final laps Viñales cruised to the finish line, taking his first 20 championship points of the season.
It was a disappointing day for Rossi. The Italian had a decent start from ninth but lost some positions after the first corners and crossed the start-finish line for the first time in tenth place. However, The Doctor is known to always soldier on. He regained two places again, overtaking Miguel Oliveira and passing the off-road Marc Marquez, but it remained a difficult battle for the Italian. Unable to move up the order, he was riding in tenth position when he suffered a technical issue, resulting in an NC.