Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi had predicted that he would have a challenging end to the Monster Energy Grand Prix Ceské republiky race and acted accordingly. He made a strong charge in the first half of the race, taking the lead several times. Though he had to relinquish P1, he still secured solid championship points with a well-earned fourth place. Maverick Viñales was fortunately mostly unharmed but unable to continue after an unlucky race incident on the opening lap.
Rossi had a brilliant start from second place on the grid and took the holeshot. The opening laps were a continuous back and forth between him and fellow Italian Andrea Dovizioso, while Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo followed. The Doctor spent most of the early stages in second position, carefully observing his compatriot until, with 14 laps to go, he felt ready to make a break for it. He overtook Dovizioso and put his head down.
The nine-time World Champion held the provisional first place for three laps before another battle at the front unfolded. The number 46 rider fell back to fifth place, but he made sure to stay in contact with the leading group. He stalked Cal Crutchlow around the track and made a decisive overtake in the final chicane of the last lap to secure fourth place over the line, 2.902s from first.
Viñales experienced a disappointing end to the Czech GP weekend. Starting from 12th place on the grid he soon found himself mixed up in the busy mid-pack of the rider field. He had hoped to make the medium front – soft rear tyre combination work for him on the first lap to make up ground, but a race incident involving him, Stefan Bradl, and Bradley Smith ended his challenge prematurely. The Spaniard was able to walk away from the crash without serious injuries and will be looking for redemption at the upcoming Grand Prix in Austria next weekend.
The fourth place made Rossi the first rider to secure more than 6000 Grand Prix championship points over all classes. It also keeps him in second position in the championship standings with 49 points to first and 23 points ahead of teammate Viñales, who is now in fourth position. Yamaha holds third place in the Constructor Championship after the race in Brno, with a 43-point margin to first, while the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team remain in first position in the team standings with a 3-point gap to the second team.
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team will be back in action at the Automotodrom Brno tomorrow for a one-day Official IRTA Test.
Position: 5th – Championship: 2nd – Points: 132
“I think that at the end for me it was a good race because I made a good start, a good first few laps, and I always stayed in the front group. The problem was that I wasn’t fast enough to fight with Dovizioso, Marquez, and Lorenzo. I didn’t have enough pace, unfortunately, and that was a shame because I wanted to try to arrive on the podium, for sure. At the end I did a very good battle with Cal. I was able to overtake him in the last chicane and recovered one place, but it wasn’t enough for the podium.”
Position: DNF – Championship: 4th – Points: 109
“When I was already on the ground I was trying to pick up my bike, but it was too late. I don’t know who made the mistake, but it’s lucky in any case that I don’t have any significant injuries. It was a difficult weekend, for sure. We found a new set-up in the Warm Up and I felt really good, so I was very enthusiastic about the race. We need to stay focused and keep doing our job. I think the crash was a consequence of starting from twelfth place, so we have to pay really close attention to which direction we follow with the set-up, and let’s see what happens at the test tomorrow.”
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – Team Director
“It wasn’t an easy race weekend at all for our team and also the last day is filled with mixed emotions. On the one hand we had Valentino starting from first row and fighting at the front. He put in the maximum and scored the best result possible given the circumstances. Of course on the other hand we feel sorry for Maverick, who’s race ended early, but starting from the fourth row you know accidents like today’s can happen. It’s unfortunate that the mishap cost him his third place in the championship standings, especially since the set-up that he tried in this morning’s Warm Up gave him a really good feeling and the decision to use the soft rear tyre could have played out well. Tomorrow we have an extra day here at the Brno circuit to get some testing done.”