Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP was allowed to put forward one rider for the Virtual Spanish GP, ridden today at the Circuito de Jerez. Having discussed the options within the team, Maverick Viñales was nominated to defend the colours in this special event aimed to raise money for charity organisation Two Wheels for Life.
Though it wasn't a faultless race by the Factory Yamaha rider, he once again showed that his speed (also thanks to training with Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP eRider Lorenzo Daretti, see the full video here) makes him one of the key protagonists in virtual racing. He already scored third and second in the first two #StayAtHomeGP events, but he was hungry for more.
Starting from fourth on the grid in Jerez, Viñales was one of the victims of the seemingly unavoidable first corner multiple-rider incident. He fell back to eighth but showed no signs of discouragement. Before the end of the first lap he had already clawed his way back up to fifth place. A big crash in front of him then moved him up to third, making him a solid podium candidate once more.
The thought of another MotoGP Virtual Racing trophy only fueled his fiery determination more. He set the fastest lap as he found himself in a sandwich between the Marquez brothers. Viñales was looking to overtake Alex Marquez, but a small second crash saw him fall behind Marc Marquez. However, the latter in his turn crashed on lap 7, allowing the number-12 bike back through into third place.
With a little more than five laps left, it was game on. Another fastest lap by the Factory Yamaha man allowed him to inch closer to Alex Marquez once more. The heat of the battle proved too much for the Honda rider. He made a mistake, and Viñales moved up to second place.
Keeping focused proved to be key in this 13-lap race. Francesco Bagnaia was the next rider to run into the gravel, which saw the Factory Yamaha man take over the lead. He only needed to keep hold of first place for one-and-a-half laps until the chequered flag. The Top Gun rode on stoically and took his first MotoGP Virtual Race glory with a comfortable 2.364s advantage over closest rival Alex Marquez.
By winning the Virtual Spanish MotoGP race Viñales hopes to both have thoroughly entertained MotoGP fans, as well as inspired them to donate to Two Wheels For Life, as he is actively sponsoring the battle against Covid-19 himself where he can.
Two Wheels for Life needs support more than ever now the Covid-19 breakout continues to cause both health and logistical problems the world over, especially in countries that are also battling poverty. With the kind donations of the fans, Two Wheels for Life will help battle the pandemic in Africa.
MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP RIDER
The race has been quite exciting, because I battled a lot. I crashed two times, so I didn’t expect to win that race, but I kept a good rhythm and I did many fast laps in a row. For me it was really good that I was able to keep my concentration until I crossed the finish line. But anyway I would have been happy, because this race is for a charity event, Two Wheels for Life, and I hope this helped them raise a good amount of money to help people in Africa battle Covid-19. I want to thank Yamaha and all the staff because the bike was fantastic. On a serious note, a sincere thanks to all the fans who are watching us race virtually. It’s helping us and motivating us to do things that make these challenging times easier, so we can all do better and be happier.