Marc Marquez becomes first repeat premier class winner of 2019 as he storms to victory in Jerez, Jorge Lorenzo returning to the points.
Fans flooded the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto from early in the morning, eager to see what would happen at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España. 21°C ambient temperatures and 42°C track temperature providing supreme racing conditions for fans and the Repsol Honda Team alike.
Leaving the fall of Warm Up behind him, Marc Marquez stormed off the line to lead the 23-rider field through the opening corners. Lap eight saw Marquez open a gap and begin to break away at the front, steadily building an advantage with each corner. The dominant ride saw the reigning World Champion cross the line 1.654 seconds ahead of second place after celebrating across the line in the 300th MotoGP race.
His 46th win in the premier class, and 72nd across all classes, moves Marquez to the top of the championship table with 70 points, a point clear of second placed Rins. His 1’38.051 on Lap 15 of the race secured Marquez a new race lap record at the Jerez circuit along with his 25 World Championship points. He also becomes the third most successful Honda rider in the premier class, overtaking Jim Redman who claimed 45 wins and overtakes Lawson to become the sixth most successful MotoGP rider in terms of premier class podium finishes with 80.
Jorge Lorenzo was left wanting more as he crossed the line in 12th at the Spanish GP. It proved a difficult race for Lorenzo who is still working on perfecting the setting of his Honda. Monday’s test day offers Lorenzo and his team an opportunity to deepen their understanding of the bike and regroup ahead of the French GP.
With 76 points, Honda sit atop the Constructor Championship.
The Repsol Honda Team will take part in the official post race test at the Jerez Circuit on Monday, May 06 before beginning their preparations for round five – the French GP, May 17 – 19.
“This race was a mental race, more than a physical one. After the mistake in Austin it wasn’t easy to lead the race like that from beginning to end, but I knew I had the pace to do it and the bike to do it. I wanted to do a race like in Argentina and at the start in Austin to prove it was a mistake there. I felt good all weekend, smooth, comfortable and able to ride how I want. Thanks to the Repsol Honda Team, they’ve done an amazing job over the last few weeks and here this weekend. It’s great to be leading the championship again.”
Sunday, 05 May 2019 18:56 Published in Rider and Team Releases
Miguel Oliveira will remain with the Red Bull KTM Tech3 squad for the 2020 season after confirmation of a contract extension took place this week leading up to the Gran Premio Red Bull de España.
The 24 year old, a grand prix winner in the Moto3 and Moto2 category before stepping into MotoGP for the first time this season, will again steer a works KTM RC16 for the Red Bull Tech3 squad next year after impressing with his speed and adaptation to the premier class in the early phases of the 2019 campaign. The sole Portuguese in MotoGP has finished 17th, 11th and 14th – earning points in two of his first three outings – and will continue his rise after becoming the first rider to emerge through the spectrum of the Red Bull KTM Grand Prix structure.
Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsports Director: “We are extremely happy to announce that we have activated our option with Miguel and his contract with us early because what he has shown in the first races is really good for us and there is no reason to wait any longer. We’re really pleased to have a rider of his clear potential inside KTM for another year.”
Saturday, 04 May 2019 17:38 Published in Rider and Team Releases
MotoGP is back to Europe: the Mission Winnow Ducati team on track at Jerez for the fourth round of the Championship
After leaving Austin (United States) with the lead in the Riders, Constructors and Team rankings, the Mission Winnow Ducati team is ready to begin the long, intense European phase of the calendar, with eleven races in the Old Continent, the first of which will be held at Jerez de la Frontera (Spain).
Historically, Ducati has achieved a win and five podiums overall on the Spanish track, but both Andrea Dovizioso – who will ride his 200th MotoGP race on Sunday – and Danilo Petrucci – who missed the podium at Jerez by only four tenths of a second last year – are determined to make the most of the feedback gathered during the winter tests and the first races of 2019 to rewrite the statistics. After three rounds, Ducati leads the Constructors rankings with 57 points, and the Mission Winnow Ducati team is first in the Team rankings with 84 points.
Andrea Dovizioso (#04 Mission Winnow Ducati) – 1st (54 points)
"We arrive at Jerez in the lead but, more than for the championship position itself, I'm happy first and foremost for the feeling with the bike so far this year. Our competitiviness has further increased and we managed to defend ourselves even on historically difficult tracks, but it's also true that there are even more riders capable of fighting for the podium and the season has just started. I believe that in Jerez we'll be able to be stronger than in the past, last year during the race we had already shown progress, but we need to keep our head down and work hard to make more improvements and to be contenders on every single track."
Danilo Petrucci (#9 Mission Winnow Ducati) – 5th (30 points)
"The Jerez track, on paper, is more suited to my riding style compared with the first three circuits we've raced at so far. During the winter tests I was fast there, even though track conditions will probably be very different this weekend. Also, I was able to fight for the podium until basically the very end of the race last year, so overall I'm confident. So far we've collected important points and stayed in the top 5 in the Championship, but obviously I want to be stronger in race conditions. This break was helpful to recharge and pinpoint some small items to improve over the weekend. We're working on details that can make a big difference, so I can't wait to head out to the track."
The Mission Winnow Ducati team will resume action Friday, May 3, for the first free-practice session, which is scheduled to start at 09:55.
Name: Circuito de Jerez - Ángel Nieto
Fastest lap: Crutchlow (Honda), 1’37”653 (163,0 km/h) - 2018
Circuit record: Lorenzo (Yamaha), 1’38”735 (161,2 km/h) - 2015
Top speed: Iannone (Ducati), 295,9 km/h - 2015
Length: 4,428 km
Race distance: 25 laps (110,6 km)
Corners: 13 (5 left, 8 right)
Podium: 1st Marquez (Honda); 2nd Zarco (Yamaha), 3rd Iannone (Suzuki)
Pole Position: Crutchlow (Honda) 1:37.653 (163,0 km/h)
Fastest lap: Marquez (Honda) 1:39.159 (160,5 km/h)
Bike: Ducati Desmosedici GP
Race Number: 04
Age: 33 (born on 23 March 1986 in Forlimpopoli)
Residence: Forlì (Italy)
Races: 297 (199 x MotoGP, 49 x 250cc, 49 x 125cc)
First GP: 2008 Qatar (MotoGP), 2005 Spain (250cc), 2001 Italy (125cc)
Wins: 22 (13 x MotoGP, 4 x 250cc, 5 x 125cc)
First Win: 2009 Great Britain (MotoGP), 2006 Catalonia (250cc), 2004 South Africa (125cc)
Pole Positions: 20 (7 x MotoGP, 4 x 250cc, 9 x 125cc)
First Pole: 2010 Japan (MotoGP), 2006 France (250cc), 2003 France (125cc)
World Titles: 1 (1 x 125cc)
Bike: Ducati Desmosedici GP
Race number: 9
Age: 28 (born on 24 October 1990 in Terni)
Residence: Forlì (Italia)
Races: 121 (MotoGP)
First GP: 2012 Qatar (MotoGP)
Pole positions: -
World titles: -
Andrea Dovizioso (#04 Mission Winnow Ducati) – 1st (54 points)
Danilo Petrucci (#9 Mission Winnow Ducati) – 5th (30 points)
Ducati – 1st (57 points)
Mission Winnow Ducati – 1st (84 points)
Wednesday, 01 May 2019 15:20 Published in Rider and Team Releases
The Circuit of the Americas witnessed a drama-filled race 20 lap race, but Alex Rins immediately slotted into a Top 5 position and began to work his way up the field. The Spaniard felt confident with his GSX-RR, and with his usual smooth riding style he was able to remain cool while others around him fell foul of mistakes. Alex had already placed himself in a podium position, but was promoted to 2nd with 11 laps to go as Marquez crashed out.
Using excellent race craft, Rins planned a victory charge for the last few laps, before executing a great pass on Rossi to lead. Alex remained calm under pressure from the 9-time champion to earn his first ever MotoGP win.
Joan Mir, meanwhile, was feeling ready for the race after a positive morning warm-up session, but the rookie unfortunately jumped the start and was forced to complete a ride-through penalty whilst running in 13th place. Joan used the remainder of the race to learn and become further acquainted with his GSX-RR, finishing the GP in 17th place.
Today’s victory marks Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s first win since Silverstone 2016, and Alex Rins’ first win since Le Mans 2016, as well as being his debut MotoGP top step.
Ken Kawauchi - Technical Manager
“It was a great race. Our bike and Alex have both grown a lot in recent months, and we were finally able to show the results of these improvements. Joan made a small mistake today but he paid a big price. We’re looking forward to the next races with him because he’s learning fast. I want to thank Alex, the whole team, and everyone who is involved with this project on site and in Japan - today is a very happy day for Suzuki.”
Davide Brivio - Team Manager
“Today we are so happy - so pleased for the factory back in Japan and for all the team staff, because everybody has worked so hard. It’s wonderful for Alex, this is further proof of the way he’s matured and improved. When he began with us he suffered a lot with injuries, and since then he has worked so hard and this achievement is something he really deserves. Now I can say that our target this season was victory, and we’ve done it at the third race. Thanks to all the Suzuki staff and Alex. Joan had amazing pace today but unfortunately he jump-started and the penalty cost him a lot, we already talked a lot about this; but finally he has made another important step this weekend. I’m happy about his improvements.”
“It’s incredible! I’m very happy to win the race here! In warm-up this morning we tried a different set-up and it didn’t work in the way we expected, so we reverted to the usual settings for the race and we won, it’s super! I’m lost for words! I managed the pressure well, even though I suffered a bit in the last laps. When I crossed the line all the feelings hit me at once. I just want to say a big thank you to all my team, everyone in Japan, and all the people around me!”
“I’m quite disappointed about the jump start, the footage shows that I moved a fraction before the lights, but I didn’t gain anything from it. Nevertheless the penalty is a ride-through. Without this I could have had a strong result so it’s a real shame, but anyway, I’m happy with my pace and my feeling with the bike - both were good this weekend. I want to congratulate Alex because he did an amazing job! All the team will continue working to be even more competitive.”
GP of the Americas - Race Classification:
1. Alex RINS Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 41'45.499
2. Valentino ROSSI Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP +0.462
3. Jack MILLER Pramac Racing +8.454
4. Andrea DOVIZIOSO Mission Winnow Ducati +9.420
5. Franco MORBIDELLI Petronas Yamaha SRT +18.021
6. Danilo PETRUCCI Mission Winnow Ducati +21.476
7. Fabio QUARTARARO Petronas Yamaha SRT +26.111
8. Pol ESPARGARO Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +29.743
9. Francesco BAGNAIA Pramac Racing +30.608
10. Takaaki NAKAGAMI LCR Honda IDEMITSU +31.011
11. Maverick VIÑALES Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP +34.077
12. Andrea IANNONE Aprilia Racing Team Gresini +34.779
13. Johann ZARCO Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +42.458
14. Miguel OLIVEIRA Red Bull KTM Tech 3 KTM +44.272
15. Tito RABAT Reale Avintia Racing +44.623
16. Karel ABRAHAM Reale Avintia Racing +44.740
17. Joan MIR Team SUZUKI ECSTAR +48.063
18. Hafizh SYAHRIN Red Bull KTM Tech 3 KTM +1'07.683
99 Jorge LORENZO Repsol Honda Team
93 Marc MARQUEZ Repsol Honda Team
35 Cal CRUTCHLOW LCR Honda CASTROL
41 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
MotoGP Championship Standings:
1. Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 54
2. Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 51
3. Alex RINS Suzuki 49
4. Marc MARQUEZ Honda 45
5. Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati 30
6. Jack MILLER Ducati 29
7. Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda 22
8. Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda 19
9. Pol ESPARGARO KTM 18
10. Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha 17
11. Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha 16
12. Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha 14
13. Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia 13
14. Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati 9
15. Joan MIR Suzuki 8
16. Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM 7
17. Jorge LORENZO Honda 7
18. Andrea IANNONE Aprilia 6
19. Johann ZARCO KTM 5
20. Tito RABAT Ducati 1
21. Hafizh SYAHRIN KTM
22. Karel ABRAHAM Ducati
Monday, 15 April 2019 11:25 Published in Rider and Team Releases
A perfectly sunny race day at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) delivered nothing short of a sensational Grand Prix of The Americas. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP's Valentino Rossi put his heart and soul into today’s race and only just missed out on the victory, taking 2nd position. Maverick Viñales had an equally competitive race pace, but a ride through penalty after a jump start cost him valuable time and places. Still the Spaniard kept going, cutting through the rider pack all the way back up to 11th place.
Rossi rushed off the line, dashing towards the tight left first corner, just like he planned. He knew that if he wanted to challenge for the win today, he would have to push 100% right from the very start. He was doing a superb job to block Cal Crutchlow, whilst chasing Marc Márquez.
With 15 laps to go, The Doctor got a bit of breathing space as Crutchlow crashed out. At the time Márquez was almost 3s ahead of him, but the Italian never gave up. He searched for the perfect balance between keeping the pressure on and managing his tyres, and it paid off. Márquez crashed out with 12 laps to go, giving Yamaha the lead in the race.
The events also spurred on the chasing Álex Rins, but Rossi managed the gap until, with five laps to go, the battle for the victory was on. Rins came through a lap later. The veteran tried to retaliate, using a block pass, but it was unsuccessful and resulted in 0.5s gap. The number 46 rider was making a great attempt to undo the damage, inching closer, but he ran wide with two laps to go, meaning he had to do the work all over again. He wasn’t giving up, though. In the last lap Rossi managed to make up a lot of time and was looking threatening behind Rins in the final sector, but ultimately he came just 0.462s short as they crossed the finish line.
Viñales held firm at the start of Round 3, defending his P6 going into turn 1. He battled with Andrea Dovizioso and crossed the line for the first time in seventh place. With 17 laps to go, Viñales had to let Franco Morbidelli past, and more bad news was on the horizon as he was given a ride through penalty for a jump start.
A moment of confusion lost him 4s and five places, as he unnecessarily took the long-lap penalty lane. He completed the ride through penalty in pit lane on the next lap, which moved him even further back, to 19th place.
Though down the order, the Spaniard wasn’t out for the count. He soon flashed a red sector and started to climb up the ranking again. Whilst various riders retired from the race, he passed Hafizh Syahrin and found himself in P16, nearly back into the points and lapping more than 1s quicker than a group of nine riders ahead of him. He soon gained two more places, closed an almost 4s gap, took another two positions, closed a 5s gap, and overtook yet another rider to salvage an 11th place finish, 34.077s from first.
Today's results see Rossi climb to 2nd position in the championship standings with a 3-point gap to first. Viñales is now in 12th place, with a 40-point margin to the top. Yamaha is joint second in the constructor standings, and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP is also second in the team classifications.
The team will be back in action in three weeks' time, when the MotoGP paddock embarks upon the European leg of the championship, starting with the Spanish GP, held at the Circuito de Jerez - Ángel Nieto.
Monday, 15 April 2019 11:22 Published in Rider and Team Releases
Both Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo leave the Americas GP pointless after a double DNF while fighting at the front.
A chilly, but dry, morning Warm Up session soon gave way to 39ºC track temperature as the MotoGP World Championship lined up for the 20-lap race. Leaving his braking late, pole-setter Marc Marquez led into and through Turn 1, steadily building his lead each lap. An error into Turn 12 on Lap 9 caused Marquez to lose the front of his RC213V, unable to restart his machine he was forced to retire. Marquez was unharmed in the fall.
Starting 11th, Jorge Lorenzo did his best to maintain his position in the opening laps. Lap 5 saw Lorenzo find his rhythm and commence his march forward, quickly making up several positions. Looking comfortable on his RC213V in tenth, Lorenzo was closing in on Bagnaia in ninth when he encountered a problem and was forced to retire. The issue was unrelated to the one suffered by Lorenzo on Saturday and HRC are investigating the issue.
The Gran Premio Red Bull de España at the iconic Jerez circuit, May 3 – 5, offers the Repsol Honda Team a chance to return to fighting at the front. Marquez and Lorenzo have taken 14 premier class podiums, including five wins, between them on their previous visits to the Spanish track.
“We have had six amazing years here but today I made a big mistake. When I arrived in the garage I said sorry to the team and now I’d like to say sorry to the fans because it was my mistake. It’s different to make a mistake fighting for fifth and fighting for the win, the level is there. We’re only nine points off the lead. It’s true, we made a mistake but we are human and this can happen. We need to learn from it and understand and come back stronger in Jerez.”
“It has been a difficult weekend with the weather and everything. I didn’t get the best start but I was able to recover and then I started to make up some positions. Sadly we had an issue with the bike and I was forced to retire from the race. It was a different issue to yesterday. The positive is that in the race I was feeling quite good at a circuit where normally I have difficulty. Now we look to Jerez, a circuit I like and where we will hopefully be able to be stronger.”
Monday, 15 April 2019 11:18 Published in Rider and Team Releases
Andrea Dovizioso seized 4th place in the GP of the Americas at Austin (U.S.A.), reclaiming the championship lead after three rounds with 54 points in the standings. After qualifying in fifth row in 13th position, the Mission Winnow Ducati rider got off to a strong start and immediately recovered several positions. With a strong and consistent pace, the Italian rider then progressively cut the gap from Jack Miller, finishing the race just nine tenths of a second behind the Australian, third on the finish line with the Desmosedici GP 19 of the Pramac Racing Team.
Danilo Petrucci also enjoyed a solid comeback despite a difficult start from P8 and was able to progressively climb his way back through the field to claim sixth position half-way through the race. The Italian rider then increased the gap from the riders behind him and defended the position until the checkered flag. With 30 points, Petrucci is still fifth in the Riders standings.
After three rounds, Ducati leads the Constructors standings with 57 points while the Mission Winnow Ducati team leads the Team standings with 84 points.
Andrea Dovizioso (#04 Mission Winnow Ducati) – 4th
"I'm happy with this result, especially considering that I was 13th on the grid, even though if I had one half lap more to ride I would have probably finished on the podium. It's been a very tough race. Early on, I was struggling with the front and I didn't have the pace to stay with the leading group, but I managed to stay calm and collected. Lap after lap, I regained confidence and my rhythm in the final stages was very competitive, so much that I almost managed to catch Miller. We've also been lucky because there were some crashes, but those things happen when you ride on the limit. We're back on top of the Riders and Constructors standings, and my feeling with the bike has improved compared with last year, but it's not enough because there are many competitive rivals so we need to keep improving."
Danilo Petrucci (#9 Mission Winnow Ducati) – 6th
"Finishing sixth, given all the issues we encountered during practice, can be considered a good result for us here in Texas. Clearly I want to do better, but we still took some important points, keeping fifth place in the standings. It's been a long, grueling race. At one point I was recovering ground on Dovizioso and Morbidelli and I even thought I could catch them, but the front locked a couple of times and I preferred not to take too many risks. At any rate, I'm happy. My team really did a fantastic job. This wasn't a friendly track for us, but I think we managed to obtain the best possible result today. Now we'll head to more favorable circuits and I can't wait to be back on track at Jerez and start the European leg of the season."
The Mission Winnow Ducati team will resume action at Jerez de la Frontera (Spain) for the fourth round of the MotoGP World Championship, scheduled for May 3-5.
Monday, 15 April 2019 11:14 Published in Rider and Team Releases
Next stop Texas for the Mission Winnow Ducati team, on track at Austin for the third round of the MotoGP World Championship
After seizing a podium at Termas de Río Hondo (Argentina) with Andrea Dovizioso (3rd), the Mission Winnow Ducati team is ready to resume action at Austin (United States) for the third round of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship, scheduled for April 12-14 at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA).
Andrea Dovizioso, who took a win and a third place this season so far, is currently second in the championship with 41 points to his tally and is keen to extend the podium streak to cut the gap from the lead, which is currently only four points. Dovizioso scored his personal best result at COTA in 2015, when he finished second. Danilo Petrucci, sixth in both races in 2019, is also determined to improve his personal statistics at Austin, where his best position at the finish is 8th (in 2017) and to continue his progress and get closer to the podium.
Andrea Dovizioso (#04 Mission Winnow Ducati) – 2nd (41 points)
"The way in which we worked in Argentina will be a good starting point for our next race at Austin. Even though the track is not the most suitable for us, I'm confident that, if we manage to improve in each session as we did at Termas de Río Hondo, we'll be competitive come race time, which is the most important thing. Our goal at Austin is to step once again on the podium, which in some ways would count as much as a win, but we'll need to assess the state of the track before we make any predictions. Last year the tarmac was really bumpy, and I hope the situation has improved since then. We know each race is a different story, so we just need to stay positive and focused, continuing to work as we did so far."
Danilo Petrucci (#9 Mission Winnow Ducati) – 5th (20 points)
"I think our potential in Texas is higher than in the past, even though COTA is still a difficult track for us theoretically, as it features many tight, Formula-1-style corners and bumps that make it trickier to find the right setup. However, in Argentina, another tough circuit for us, we reacted well despite the fact that our weekend didn't begin in the most ideal way. In general, we struggle more than others under acceleration at high lean angles because of my weight, but we're improving in terms of tyre consumption. I want to further optimize how I manage the race as well, and to this end it'll be crucial to start further ahead on the grid. We'll need to work hard to fight for the top five once again, but I'm confident."
The Mission Winnow Ducati team will resume action on Friday, April 12th, at 9:55 local time (16:55 CET) for the first free-practice session.
Wednesday, 10 April 2019 13:42 Published in Rider and Team Releases
A 9.8 second victory for the untouchable Marc Marquez in Argentina as Jorge Lorenzo gains more points and crucial bike time.
Overnight rain in Termas de Rio Hondo didn’t deter the MotoGP field during morning Warm Up, both Repsol Honda Team riders running consistently in the top ten. Marc Marquez again finished on top, Jorge Lorenzo within a second and in 11th after the 20-minute session.
Forecasts were all proven wrong as the 25-lap Argentina Grand Prix ran without even a single drop of rain and instead the grid was met with ever-climbing track temperatures. A lightning start saw Marc Marquez convert his pole position into a one second lead after just a single lap, the reigning champion never once looking back. Lap after lap his advantage grew, Marquez over 12 seconds clear before the end of the race. Crossing the line 9.816 seconds ahead of second placed Valentino Rossi, Marquez claimed his first win of the season and his third win at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in untouchable style.
The victory was accompanied by Marquez’s biggest winning margin in a dry MotoGP race, his previous best coming at the 2016 Argentina GP (a gap of 7.679s) and is his 45th win in the premier class. Marquez leaves Argentina with 45 points and the championship lead.
Unfortunatley Jorge Lorenzo’s race got off to a difficult start as he dropped down to 21st from 12th after trouble getting off the line. However, consistent pace saw Lorenzo quickly return to points scoring positions and run at a pace similar to those fighting towards the front. Crossing the line in 12th, Lorenzo collects not only more points but also more race time on the Honda.
Honda now moves to the top of the Constructor’s Championship as a result of the victory.
The MotoGP World Championship prepares to travel to Austin, Texas for round three of the 2019 championship at the Red Bull Gran Prix of The Americas, April 12 -14. Marquez has won all six races at the circuit while Jorge Lorenzo has taken a pair of podiums previously.
“Today was a perfect day. I have been so concentrated since FP1 and everything worked well, just a tiny hiccup in FP4. But we kept pushing, pushing and in the race I knew that my strongest point was the first five laps. I put everything in and then I saw the difference, one second, two seconds, three seconds and then I settled into my rhythm and pushed a little less. I managed the tyres and the bike, it was a really sweet feeling with the bike.”
“First of all I want to say congratulations to the Repsol Honda Team and Marc Marquez for winning this race. Marc has been fantastic all weekend. In Warm Up we made quite a big step and I was able to be faster and I felt good for the race. Unfortunately we had some very unlucky things happen, at the start I hit the pit limiter and the bike wouldn’t go. When I realised I was at the back so I had to fight through, I was able to move forward but we can’t be happy with this result.”
Monday, 01 April 2019 10:39 Published in Rider and Team Releases
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi saved the best for last at the Gran Premio Motul de la República Argentina weekend. He used his experience to cunningly make his move - a perfectly executed block pass - in Turn 7 of the very last lap, to take a superb second place. The final lap wasn’t lucky for team-mate Maverick Viñales. Though his challenge wasn’t all smooth sailing, he was looking competitive in the final stages of the race. He was lying in seventh place when another rider collected him on lap 25, resulting in an N.C. score.
Rossi had a strong start from fourth on the grid, held his position in the first corner, and shortly after moved up to second place. He aimed to prevent any riders from checking out at the front but didn't succeed, as he fell back to fifth in the busy group. Not for long, though: he steadily worked his way back to second place to lead the chasing pack.
Despite running wide on lap 7, he quickly made up for the lost time. When he was back in second place a lap later, the crowds were on their feet. As Marc Marquez was already over 6s ahead thanks to the battles of the chasing group, the Italian focused on defending his position.
While the number 46 rider’s tussles with Andrea Dovizioso for second place continued, the pair gradually broke away from the others. The Yamaha rider observed the riding style of his rival and perfectly picked the place and moment to pounce: on the last lap, in Turn 7, he put his YZR-M1 on the inside and made it stick. He crossed the line in second place 9.816s from first.
Viñales had a rocky start from second place on the grid, but was quick to slot into fifth, behind his team-mate. He made good on yesterday's promise to ride aggressively in the opening laps, moving past Jack Miller for fourth before crossing the line for the first time. However, the moment was short-lived. The Spaniard was swamped in the busy bustle of the front group and fell back to eighth.
He wasn’t taking it lying down, though. He earned back seventh place and pushed to the fullest to latch on to the group fighting for second. He was hanging in there but lost two positions as he ran wide with 9 laps to go.
Still Viñales didn’t give up. He had ensured his soft-soft tyre combination would last for the entire 25-lap race-length, and now he was about to pick the fruits of his labour. With five laps to go, he overtook Takaaki Nakagami for eighth. He had to close a 0.9s gap next and managed to reach the back of the group in front. He soon found himself in seventh position, but on the last lap disaster struck. Another rider accidentally clipped the back of Viñales’ bike, ending his challenge.
Today's results see Rossi climb to 3rd position in the championship standings with a 10-point gap to second and a 14-point margin to first. Viñales is now in 11th place, with a 36-point gap to first. Yamaha is third in the constructor standings, and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP holds the same position in the team classifications.
The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team will be back in action in two weeks' time, when the MotoGP paddock touches down in the United States for the Grand Prix of the Americas, held at the COTA track in Austin, Texas.
"We are very happy and satisfied with this second place, though we are disappointed for Maverick. This weekend the team worked really well. We had some difficulties in FP1 and we were able to correct them and find solutions quite early on. This morning after the Warm Up, Valentino ultimately made the right decision for him, choosing the medium rear tyre. It has been a good team effort, so we really want to enjoy this second place. Maverick was feeling well on the soft tyres during Warm Up, so he decided to go ahead with them. However, already from the beginning of the race he was having difficulties when stopping the bike. We have to analyse this problem and try to understand it, because it's a pity he couldn't be as fast as this morning. To make matter worse, he was collected by Morbidelli on the final lap. It was a shame, but the most important thing is that both riders are OK. Still, the podium result is a good boost for us all and gives us good motivation for the next round."
MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP RIDER
"It's been a long time – since Sachsenring last year – that I've been on the podium. This second place is especially satisfying, because at the last two races last year, Malaysia and Valencia, I was lying in first and second place, but I made some mistakes. Finishing the championship like that was very difficult to accept, so also for this reason this result is so important for me, my team, and Yamaha, after a difficult period. I'm so happy! I tried to stay in front, because I expected to be faster, but today with the increased temperatures I struggled a bit more. Dovi stayed in front of me and rode a very good race with a good pace. We were able to break away from the guys behind us and be on our own. In that moment I knew I had to be very precise on braking to take second place, without making any mistake of even 1cm, else Dovi would pass me again. At that moment I was riding good, I entered very fast. I'm happy because, first of all, overtaking on the last lap is always special, and also because I did very good on braking."
MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP RIDER
"I saw the replay of the incident with Franco and it was nothing. It was the last lap and we all tried to be at our best, so it's just one mistake, and it is what it is. Maybe at the next race I will make the same mistake, it's something you can explain, it's not a problem. The soft tyres were for sure the right decision, because in the first lap, though I didn't start well, I was overtaking many riders, so finally at the end of lap 1 I think I was third or fourth. So that was not bad. But the bike wasn't working perfectly, so we need to keep working and see if we can solve it for the next race. Honestly, I feel good at every track, we show good potential. It's always in the race that we have an issue. When the bike is there, I'm always in the top-3."
Monday, 01 April 2019 10:35 Published in Rider and Team Releases