Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales showed their grit during today’s blistering hot Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón. Pushing to the limit in the 23-lap race at the MotorLand Aragón track, they made up various places and secured eighth and tenth place respectively.
Rossi had a good start from 17th position, avoiding any drama and contact in the busy rider pack as they all flicked it left. He crossed the line at the end of the first lap in 12th place and soon gained another place as he overtook Takaaki Nakagami. Two laps later the Italian made further strides, moving up two positions when he passed Johann Zarco, whilst Cal Crutchlow took a fall.
After the eventful opening laps, a lonely ride began for the Doctor. He was holding ninth place and steadily closed in on the rider in front of him. Not one to give up easily, he kept his head down. Two laps before the end he overtook Miller for eighth place and held on to that position until he took the chequered flag, 15.199s from first.
Viñales struggled at the start of the race, dropping back from 14th place to 19th after the first corners, but after a couple of laps the local hero began his advance through the rider field. After Álvaro Bautista and Crutchlow had crashed out, he engaged in a battle with Hafizh Syahrin for 14th place. The Factory man muscled his way past his fellow Yamaha rider and then quickly closed the gap to a group fighting for tenth place.
The Spaniard pounced as soon as he could, passing Zarco and Franco Morbidelli for twelfth. With 10 laps to go he also picked off Nakagami and Bradley Smith, breaching into the top-10. Next on his list was his teammate, Rossi, riding almost 6s ahead. With clear track in front of him, the youngster pushed out various personal best sectors but wasn’t able to close the gap to ninth and finished in tenth place, 22.457s from the front.
Today’s results see Rossi hold third position in the championship standings with an 87-point margin to first and a 15-point gap to second. Viñales equals Lorenzo’s point score but remains in fifth place with 130 points and a 29-point gap to his teammate. Yamaha holds third place in the Constructor Championship after the race in Aragon, with a 79-point margin to first, while the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team are also in third position in the team standings with a 44-point gap to first.
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team will be back in action at the Chang International Circuit in two weeks’ time for the PTT Thailand Grand Prix, held from October 5th – 7th.
Position: 8th – Championship: 3rd – Points: 159
“Today we also modified the bike a lot, we tried working in another way. Already from this morning I tried to feel a little bit better, so my feeling with the bike improved and we could make some adjustments for the race. The end of the race was better than what I expected, because I wasn’t particularly fast, but my pace was consistent. I was able to recover a lot of positions – because I started from the back of the grid – to take some points for the championship. From one point of view, it’s better than it was yesterday, but from another, our technical situation is quite difficult, because we have to fight to the maximum to be inside the top-10 at the moment.”
Position: 10th – Championship: 5th – Points: 130
“I’m disappointed about how things are going. I’ll just go home, try to relax, and start thinking about the next race. The rhythm wasn’t there, though we had it in FP4 – on the same tyres we were doing 1’48s, but in the race it wasn’t possible. I didn’t feel great at the Buriram track in pre-season testing, but I’ll try my best, as always, and take the maximum result.”
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – Team Director
“We had a very difficult race weekend. To finish just inside the top-10 isn’t a great result, but it’s what was within our reach considering our starting positions. Vale and Maverick finalised their set-ups in the morning warm-up and found some small improvements. It’s only natural that both our riders lost time in the first stages of the race, trying to make their way to the front, but they did the maximum they could today and kept fighting. This tough weekend is done, so now we’ll focus on preparing for the next race, using the data we collected at the pre-season Buriram test.”