A somewhat incomplete Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team returns to Italy for the Gran Premio Tribul Mastercard di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini this week, with Maverick Viñales as the team’s sole representative following Valentino Rossi’s injury.
A fortnight ago, Viñales ended the weekend at the Silverstone Circuit on a high, securing a hard-fought second place. Thanks to this podium result, he is now in third place in the championship standings, 13 points from first and with a 4-point margin to second place.
This weekend the Spaniard aims to inch closer to the top spot in the rankings again, by securing a place on the San Marino rostrum. He visited it once before, when he scored a second place in the Moto3 class in 2013. Though the improved feeling on his YZR-M1 at the British Grand Prix – and the positive private Misano test results of the week before – left the young Spaniard in high spirits, he is saddened that he will be riding without his teammate at the upcoming MotoGP round.
The Italian supporters are also disappointed that Rossi will not be racing at his home Grand Prix, especially as the track is just 20 minutes down the road from his home in Tavullia. Though the fans will deeply miss the nine-time World Champion’s presence, they will be cheered up by the news that – after breaking his leg in an enduro training accident on Thursday, 31st August – his recovery is going well.
The Italian has confirmed that he will be back on his bike as soon as he returns to full fitness. For the San Marino Grand Prix, the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team will set up his garage as usual, so his two YZR-M1s will be there for the fans to see.
This weekend the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP bikes will again sport a “#rodamosjuntos” logo, as part of a safe driving awareness initiative started by Movistar. The safety campaign was launched during La Vuelta (and run until September 9th) to promote mutual respect between drivers and cyclists on the road.
Besides supporting this safety initiative, the Factory Yamaha team is also supporting KiSS Misano (KiSS stands for Keep it Shiny & Sunstainable). On Thursday, September 7th, Yamaha Motor Racing Srl General Manager Marco Riva will attend a pre-event press conference, where he will reveal the special Yamaha Tricity that Yamaha Motor Italy is donating to the Misano Circuit to support the environmental and social sustainability programme. The special livery Tricity is to be used for health emergencies. The vehicle is styled to match KiSS Misano’s “green image”, so it will stand out in a crowd, and it comes equipped with a Cardiac Science AED device (a resuscitator).
The Misano track was constructed in 1972 and was a regular scene for Italian Grands Prix throughout the 80s and early 90s. The 4.2 km track is ridden clockwise since a radical renovation was done to meet MotoGP’s safety regulations in 2007, putting the circuit back on the calendar. The upgrade also included a new chicane, giving the 4.2 km track its current lay-out of six left and ten right corners. These improvements not only made the track safer, but also increased the race excitement, as the numerous fast corners provide many overtaking possibilities for the passionate Italian fans to enjoy.
Championship 3rd – Points: 170
“Unfortunately we will arrive at the Misano Grand Prix without my teammate Valentino and it’s a big shame. I know it’s a very special GP for him, as it’s his home race, and it will not be the same if he’s not there. I wish him a quick recovery and hope to have him back in the garage as soon as possible. We are very motivated after the podium at Silverstone, we’re working in the right direction again. I’m starting to have the same feeling on my M1 that I had at the beginning of the season and that gives me a lot of calm and allows me to focus on continuing to get points in each race. It’s very positive that we were able to give a good performance in the test at the Misano track some weeks ago and we improved a lot of things on the set-up, so I will try as always to give my 100% to bring a new victory to Yamaha.”
Championship: 4th – Points: 157
“It’s a big pity that I can’t be at my home GP. For sure, I was really looking forward to the round in Misano, because riding in front of the fans there is something very special, but I have to treat the injury with care. I know the team is supporting me during the rehabilitation process. Fortunately I’m fine, I’m not too bad and I’ve already managed to start some light physiotherapy. The recovery time isn’t short, but I will do everything I can to get back on track as soon as possible. I have to say thanks to everyone for the affection you have shown me during these days. See you soon!”
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – Team Director
“After the test in Misano, almost three weeks ago, we had a really good race weekend at the Silverstone Circuit. Maverick is confident and he’s 100% focused, as always, on getting as many points as possible in this weekend’s race. As the championship standings are bunched up again, we’re really looking forward to this next round. The whole team loves Misano, not only because the track is amazing, but the atmosphere there is something special and the San Marino Grand Prix is also a second “home race” for the team. However, Vale’s accident has cast a bit of a grey cloud over the event. Our team will miss Valentino. We wish him all the best and look forward to having him back as soon as possible.”
Misano Challenge Up Next for Confident Zarco and Folger
The upbeat Monster Yamaha Tech3 rookie duo are fired up for the San Marino Grand Prix this weekend where they fully intend to fight for two notable results aboard their Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP bikes. Johann Zarco has his sights set on concluding the 28 lap battle inside the top five at the thirteenth round of the championship. Whereas Jonas Folger determinedly aims to bounce back from a recent run of bad luck and duel for the top independent rider honours on the beautiful Adriatic coast.
Championship: 6th – Points: 109
“I am excited to visit Misano because it’s an interesting circuit and after visiting Austria and Silverstone, it will be a small track for the MotoGP bikes. It is going to be very important to work effectively with the team in order to set the bike up and feel comfortable so that we can have a positive race on Sunday. For sure the GP weekend will not be easy, but I hope to be consistent from the beginning to the end. The circuit is one that I like and I have good memories from my days in Moto2 and the 125cc class. In addition, the weather can be quite hot and the venue is right next to the Adriatic Sea. So overall, I aim to have a rewarding time and finish inside the top five to get a lot of points for the championship.”
Championship: 9th – Points: 77
“Of course I am looking forward to this weekend after the tough time that we had at Silverstone but I am sure that we are going to have more luck in Italy. I have great memories at Misano, including a pole position in Moto3 and some good results in the past. It’s a track that I really like a lot and perhaps we will try the new aerodynamic parts again because I think we will have an advantage with the winglets at Misano. I am sure that we will have a better time than the last three races and I hope to finish the weekend with a lot of points.”
Monster Yamaha Tech3 – Team Manager
“Misano is the next event for the MotoGP World Championship and it’s always a very exciting weekend with many fans, hot weather, and a fantastic atmosphere. In addition, it’s a really special circuit and different to the last tracks that we have visited because it’s short as well as anti clockwise and a place where some riders don’t always have a good feeling. Clearly, the factory teams have been testing there, but few independent teams have and certainly not Tech3 but we are ready and excited. Aside from that, the big news is that the national hero, Valentino Rossi will not be on the starting grid due to a very unfortunate off road accident. The atmosphere won’t the same without Valentino, but he is out of the hospital and we hope that he will be able to visit the track for the fans who will support him and aid his recovery process. For Monster Yamaha Tech3, it is going to be another tough race for sure as the level is so high. We have to try to be in the top five but we also have to remember that both of our riders are rookies. Most importantly, it’s vital that our guys perform well so they fight for the Rookie Of The Year title which is highly significant for Johann and Jonas. Currently, we also hold the top independent position and this was not easy or planned when you consider how fast the other riders are, but we are leading this. Therefore, we aim to continue scoring some good points so that we can carry on fighting for this. Italy is a special country for MotoGP racing and we can’t wait to be back on the track. Johann was our only rider in Silverstone on Sunday and he had a great race. Whereas Jonas was unfortunately not able to participate, but he is 100% physically fit so we hope to be able to produce an entertaining show and finish this Italian week on a positive note.”