After four days of riding their YZR-M1s in the last week, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi are fired up and feeling confident to take on the competition at the upcoming NeroGiardini Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich.
Viñales took a solid sixth place in Austria last year, but is set on turning his recent third place in the Czech Republic into a podium streak, in order to remain a main contender in the 2017 title chase.
Being in second place in the championship standings, with a 14-point gap to close to the leader, he is as motivated as ever to start working and bring in the results. He booked steady progress in Monday’s Brno test and aims to build on the steps made there, in order to stand on the Red Bull Ring rostrum this weekend.
Teammate Rossi topped the Brno test just two days ago and is feeling confident that he can continue to show great speed in Austria, though the nature of the Czech circuit and the Red Bull Ring are quite diverse.
The Doctor has ridden at the Spielberg track three times before. He secured his first ever podium at the Austrian venue with a third place in the 125cc class in 1996, and followed it up with a second place in the same class in 1997. Last year he just missed out on the podium, taking fourth place. The Italian is determined to climb the rostrum this time round and decrease the current 22-point gap to first place in the championship rankings.
Last year the Spielberg circuit hosted its first MotoGP Grand Prix in nineteen years. The circuit was originally built in 1969 and was rebuilt in 1996 to the track-layout it still has today. The circuit stands out as it has only three left and seven right corners, a 626m longest straight, and features a 18-metre-high landmark “Bull of Spielberg” in the track’s centre. The circuit’s design puts the emphasis on top speed, acceleration and braking stability, allowing the riders plenty of opportunities to fully open the throttle and put on a show for the Austrian fans.
Championship: 2nd – Points: 140
“After being back on the podium again last weekend, we are more confident and I feel strong going in to the next Grand Prix. On Monday in Brno we also tried many things, like working on the acceleration, that will be very important for the race in Austria. We improved many items during the test and I feel happy and ready for this round. We know that we have to be on the podium at the next races if we want to win this championship, and for that we have to continue this good feeling and go for the victory.”
Championship: 4th – Points: 132
“Going back to the track immediately is very important to us, especially after a test like Monday’s in Brno, where we tried so many things. During the weekend in the Czech Republic we were fast in every condition and the test helped us to understand a bit more. Now we go to the circuit of Austria, that’s not very favourable to us, but I hope we can fight for a good result. I’m fine with the YZR-M1 now, I can ride the bike better, I’m happy and I hope I can fight for the podium at every race. The championship is still open and it will be important to take as many points as possible.”
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – Team Director
“After the test in Brno, we headed straight to Austria for the next round. We have put in a lot of hours of work in the Czech Republic and the test has put the whole team in a positive mood; we are ready for action at the Red Bull Ring. Last year the race in Spielberg was a really nice event, so the team is looking forward to this year’s edition. Though the track’s lay-out lays the emphasis on top speed and acceleration, which are not our main strengths, we’ve made good progress over the last few days and we look forward to starting work on Friday.”
Zarco and Folger Fully Charged and Confident of Strong Results at Austrian GP
The Monster Yamaha Tech3 duo will resolutely continue their busy schedules by heading straight to the Austrian Grand Prix fresh from the one day test at Brno which followed the Czech round.
Johann Zarco optimistically eyes up the forthcoming event as he fully intends to fight relentlessly for a top tier finish, following the positive and confidence boosting test yesterday. Whereas Jonas Folger aims to extend the impressive run in his rookie season, by challenging for the Top Independent honours on race day in the Austrian hills. The action will commence at the spectacular circuit on the 11th of August at 09:55.
Championship: 6th – Points: 88
“I am happy to go to Austria and I can remember from last year in Moto2, that the track is one that I enjoy riding at a lot, and I was fast. I am excited to see what the situation will be like on my MotoGP bike but I hope that the weather will be good and I also hope that the track has the same grip level that it had last season. I think it’s possible to clinch a positive result because if we can work well with the kind of acceleration that is needed at that circuit, which is very important, then I think that I can finish the race solidly. I aim to score a good amount of points in Austria after the tricky Sunday in the Czech Republic, and I am looking forward to getting on my Yamaha in only a few days time.”
Championship: 7th – Points: 77
“I am excited about the Austrian round because it’s not far from my house and it’s like the second home GP for me. In addition, I definitely enjoy riding at this track. I remember from last year in Moto2, there was a lot of grip so the tyres worked really well. I am very curious to see how the grip will be on the Michelin tyres and with my Yamaha MotoGP bike. It’s a nice place to race and in the last two Grand Prix’s, we have shown great potential and speed so it’s another chance to do the best that we can. I’m confident of another good finish and we are ready for Spielberg.”
Monster Yamaha Tech3 – Team Manager
“We can’t wait to get to Spielberg and start FP1 on Friday, especially after the disappointment that we had at the Czech Grand Prix so it will be good to turn the page. The Austrian round will be interesting because our two riders were very fast in Moto2 last year. Johann won in an incredible way, and it was maybe one of the best races of his career as he dominated the field in the second half of the sprint, which rarely happens in that class. Jonas also enjoys riding at the track and he was fast and impressive there too. As a result, we are excited to see how they feel on a MotoGP bike. Last season, this round was voted the best Grand Prix of the year so it goes without saying that the whole paddock is happy to heading back there. The circuit is set in a beautiful location, the crowd was big and it will be super to go there again with two young and hungry riders. At the Czech GP, even though the result was not what we were expecting, both riders were competitive and showed that they can fight for top five finishes, if not the podium. We will put the past behind us and do our absolute best to complete these back to back races in a positive way.”