Fresh from a three-week summer break, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales are ready to commence the second half of the 2018 MotoGP World Championship at this weekend’s Monster Energy Grand Prix Ceské republiky.
Rossi currently lies in second place in the championship standings and starts the tenth MotoGP round filled with determination to decrease the 46-point gap to first place. Having secured second place in the previous race at the Sachsenring, he is aiming for one step higher this weekend and – as he holds a stunning record at this track – the odds are in his favour.
Generally speaking, Brno is a good track for the nine-time World Champion. He secured his first ever 125cc win at the Czech Republic track in 1996. This was followed by a 250cc win in 1999, a 500cc victory in 2001 and modern era premier class Brno victories in 2003, 2005, 2008 and 2009, and multiple podium finishes.
Teammate Viñales arrives in Brno with good confidence after his great third place at the Sachsenring, that earned the Yamaha Factory team a double podium. He hasn’t been sitting still over the last few weeks, as he is fully aware that the upcoming round will be crucial for him to climb up from third place in the championship standings.
Last year, the youngster stood on the podium after securing third place, his best MotoGP score there in the MotoGP class. He also graced the rostrum once before in 2013 in the lower classes, having secured second place in the Moto3 race.
The first GP event in Brno was held in 1930. Racers would ride through the villages and western parts of the city on a road track, until the new circuit was built during the ’80s. The Brno track hosted its first FIM Czech Grand Prix in 1987 and became popular with both fans and riders thanks to its great atmosphere and location. The natural bowl in which the circuit is situated offers spectators an excellent view and provides changes in elevation and fast corners, testing the riders’ and engineers’ talents to the limit.
Championship: 2nd – Points: 119
“First of all, I needed a longer holiday! Everybody is saying this, but this is the way it is. I took one week off, and I would have enjoyed some more time, but now we need to focus again. Brno is a great track. Last year I was fast, but with MotoGP you never know. We’ll just have to see what happens. On Monday we’ll also have an extra day of testing at this circuit, which will be important. It’s going to be a busy couple of weeks, especially now that we have two GPs in a row. It will be crucial for the championship and also for Yamaha that we’ll do some good races here and in Austria. We want to secure our first race win of the season.”
Championship: 3rd – Points: 109
“I’ve enjoyed the summer break a lot. It was very necessary to have this pause in the middle of the season to disconnect and return with enough strength to be able to face the second part of the season properly. From now on we can’t afford to make mistakes. During these few weeks I’ve been training hard to be ready for Brno and Austria, two tracks that I really like and where I think that I can be strong and fight for the podium like I did in the last races. I don’t want to miss the opportunity to congratulate once again my team for the step forward. The bike was working well in Assen and Sachsenring and I felt really good on it. However, despite that, we have to keep working and keep fighting, because we are on the right path and we can’t give up. I’ve been relaxing these last few days, but not too much. I decided to stay focused and train as much as I can, because I still have a lot of work to do. I think that I understand the bike better now compared to last year in Brno, so I have a good feeling about this race weekend.”
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – Team Director
“After a short summer break we return to action this weekend in Brno. We ended the first half of the season on a high with a double podium in Sachsenring. This week we will again be striving to be competitive. The break did our riders good: it gave them a chance to recharge their batteries for the upcoming ten races, starting with two GPs in a row. I’m sure the three weeks without their YZR-M1 has left them anxious to get started again, so we’re looking forward to get back into the ring. These two rounds will be important races for the championship, so we need to give our all right from the start of the first session on Friday in Brno.”