The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team wrapped up the 2019 MotoGP World Championship today at the Circuito de la Comunitat Valenciana - Ricardo Tormo. In the cold but perfect conditions, Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi struggled to put in overtakes due to a lack of rear grip and finished in sixth and eighth place respectively. However, these important championship points earn Viñales third place in the final rider standings and helped maintain Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP's third place in the 2019 Team rankings.
Viñales had a good start, moving up a position from fourth on the grid in the first corner, but the busy opening laps were challenging. The low track temperatures meant it took him a long time to get heat into the tyres. By lap 4 he had fallen back to seventh place.
The Spaniard bided his time until, with 13 laps to go, he started to ask questions of Franco Morbidelli, inching closer to the back of the satellite Yamaha. Five laps later, the Italian crashed out in front of Viñales in Turn 4, moving the number-12 rider up to sixth. He made sure to bring his YZR-M1 safely across the finish line, 8.829s from first, to end the 2019 MotoGP Championship in third place, equalling his best premier class season result from 2017 (also with Yamaha).
Rossi started from the end of the fourth row but muscled his way through the pack on the opening lap to settle into ninth place. Considering the low grip levels, the experienced nine-time World Champion knew he had to stay cautious yet maintain a steady pace so as not lose heat in the tyres.
There was a brief interruption in the number-46 rider's search for the limit when Cal Crutchlow overtook him, but with 17 laps to go the Brit crashed out, putting the Italian back in ninth. History repeated itself when Danilo Petrucci gave it a go to take ninth from the Doctor: he suffered the same fate as Crutchlow as he tried to pull away. When fellow Yamaha rider Morbidelli took an unfortunate fall nine laps before the end, the Factory man moved up to eighth place, which he held until the chequered flag, 22.992s from the top.
Today's results see Viñales hold on to third position in the championship standings. Rossi finished the 2019 season in seventh place, while the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team take third in the team standings. Thanks to Fabio Quartararo's second place in the race, Yamaha moved up to second place in the Constructor Championship.
The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team will be back in action at the Ricardo Tormo circuit on Tuesday for the first Official IRTA test of the 2020 pre-season.
“It was a very challenging race day for us here in Valencia. Maverick and Valentino made the most of a tough GP. It's difficult to understand why we had a problem with rear tyre grip with both riders, because this didn't occur in the other cold sessions, including the Warm Up. It’s a shame, because we had really hoped to end the season on a high note and today’s results aren’t very exciting. That said, the effort our riders put in was not in vain: Maverick and the team maintained their third place in the championship rankings. We should also give credit to Fabio, because his second place today helped Yamaha earn second place in the championship standings, the result of a Yamaha-family effort. It’s quite the achievement, especially considering that Petronas SRT is a new team, Fabio a rookie rider, and Franky new to Yamaha. Despite facing difficulties this season, we have kept our work mentality and fighting spirit high. However, we would have liked to end the season closer to the front in this race, so we can’t afford to linger during the crucial Valencia Test that starts this Tuesday.”
MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP RIDER
“Actually, my main objective was to try to be third in the championship. We did it today, we forgot a bit about being on the podium or winning. My objective was to finish the race well. It was a difficult race, I struggled a lot with the rear grip, which happens sometimes for us and today again, so we have to check that. Today I was very concentrated on finishing close to Rins and trying to get the maximum points. I'm very pleased to be the first Yamaha and to be inside the top 3 again. I can't wait to test the new bike. We face this new test season with a lot of motivation, a lot of enthusiasm, and that is the most important. We have very important tests coming up here and in Jerez, and I feel great on the bike. So, we need to create a good atmosphere again and keep challenging, because I think with Yamaha we can do a really good job this winter and prepare for next year.”
MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP RIDER
“More than with the weather we struggled with the grip. This has happened to us before, earlier this year. I didn't have enough rear grip and after some laps I had to slow down because my tyre lost a lot of performance. In the second half of the season we suffered a lot from this and at the end we were not able to fix it. Today was more or less the same, so we have to work from next Tuesday to start the new season well. We have two important tests here in Valencia and in Jerez before the end of the year. We hope we'll have good weather and we'll try to improve. We'll have some new stuff from Yamaha, and also in the team we'll have a new Crew Chief. These tests will also be important for us to understand how to work, and we'll try to return stronger next year.”