MotoGP fans couldn’t have asked for a more dramatic Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana today and the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders were there to pick up the pieces. Valentino Rossi rode a very consistent race to secure fifth position. After a small crash in the morning warm up, Maverick Viñales needed some time to make strides. He took 12th place at the finish line.
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders could pick up on the excitement in the air as the final race was about to get underway. Rossi had a strong start from seventh, holding his position on the first lap. He then got into a battle with Jack Miller and dropped back to eighth, but the nine-time World Championship cunningly bided his time before taking back seventh position on lap 7.
It looked to be a relatively calm race for the Doctor, but it was just the silence before the storm. With 18 laps to go, he overtook Andrea Iannone, but later had to let Alex Rins pass, just before drama struck. Multiple crashes and run-offs saw the order at the front reshuffled. Yet Rossi remained cool and benefitted from the chaos, settling into fifth place. Unable to make a dent in the gap to the rider in front of him, he held that same position crossing the finish line, 13.817s from the front.
Viñales had a good feeling in the morning, but struggled to complete the testing of some final set-up changes for his YZR-M1 in the warm up session, as he lost some time due to a small crash. In the race he was able to make a solid start from P13, climbing up a place in the first lap, but then had to put a hold on his charge.
The home hero briefly dropped to 15th, but kept fighting. He overtook Danilo Petrucci with 15 laps to go, boosting his confidence. Four laps later he clocked two personal best times in a row, dropping into the low 1’32s. He soon overtook Bradley Smith and found himself moving up to tenth in the rankings, as various rivals crashed out of the race. He was keen on maintaining his position, but in the end took the chequered flag in 12th place, 35.012s from the front.
Today’s results see Rossi finish the championship in fifth place with 208 points, two places behind Viñales. The young Spaniard earned 230 points on his first year aboard the YZR-M1, ending the season 68 points behind the leader. Yamaha reclaimed second place in the Constructor rankings, with a 36-point margin to the top. The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team are also second in the Team classification, 70 points from first.
The team may have wrapped up the 2017 season, but they will be back in action at the Ricardo Tormo circuit on Tuesday November 14th, for the two-day Valencia MotoGP Official Test.
Position: 5th – Championship: 5th – Points: 208
“We wanted to do better, for sure, but it was the kind of race I was expecting. I knew we had to suffer because my pace during the weekend wasn’t fantastic. We didn’t have enough grip, so we struggled. Now we think the pre-season tests will be very important, because we have to reduce the gap, improve the setting and try to arrive ready for next season.”
Position: 12th – Championship: 3rd – Points: 230
“In the warm up I felt good, but maybe I pushed too much too early. I was feeling really good and that is really important. We’re going to try to achieve that again in the test. The race was different, I had some strange feelings. I needed to slow down a lot. Anyway, I’m happy that in the warm up we found a way. We know we can improve during the test and we’re trying. We tried different set-ups and we’re going to try and adjust.”
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – Team Director
“It was a very challenging race day for us, here in Valencia, but I’m sure it was still exciting for the MotoGP fans. Valentino made the most of a difficult weekend and rode a mistake-free race today. Thanks to his efforts and the crashes and run-offs, he secured fifth place. It’s a shame that he misses out on fourth place in the championship by just two points. Maverick’s race today was slightly compromised by the incident in the warm up session this morning, which left him with very little time to prepare a set-up for the afternoon. However, his feeling was actually really good in the warm up. It’s a pity he had a completely different experience during the race. Today’s final results are not so exciting, but the team did everything they could to push through a difficult weekend again, despite the challenges we faced, and this allowed us to secure second place in the Team and Constructor Championship and Maverick secured third place in his first year with Yamaha. However, we would have liked to end the season differently. We did everything we could, but we haven’t been able to achieve what we wanted. The 2018 season already starts on Tuesday. This test will be important to evaluate some new items, but most important is leaving the circuit with a clear idea of the direction we have to take for next year’s bike.”