Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales showed his mental strength at the Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland today. He had Cal Crutchlow breathing down his neck for half of the race, trying to steal second place from him, but the Spaniard held firm, taking his second consecutive podium. Rossi tagged onto the back of the group fighting for fourth place but struggled to get in the midst of the action. He finished the race in eighth.
Viñales had a good start from third and slotted into second in the first corner. He was going all out in the early laps, as he didn’t want to let Marc Marquez out of his sight, but tyre management was also crucial. When Álex Rins passed the Yamaha rider on lap four, the latter cleverly stuck to his rival but did not make a move, to ensure the pair of them wouldn’t lose any valuable time.
However, the number-12 rider was unable to keep up with the low 1’21s-lap pace and soon needed to shift his attention to keeping Crutchlow at bay. With Rins crashing out in lap 19, it turned into a battle for second. The Factory Yamaha man did a stellar job and, after withstanding the pressure for 15 laps, his superb concentration and consistency broke the Brit in the last lap. A small mistake from his rival finally gave Viñales some breathing space to bring his YZR-M1 over the finish line in second place, 4.587s from first.
It was a difficult race for Rossi. Starting from 11th on the grid, he lost one place in the first few corners. However, some early crashers in the opening laps meant he was soon back up to ninth as he picked off Pol Espargaró.
The Doctor maintained this position for a long time in a group of seven riders battling for fifth place, but he wasn’t quite able to get into the mix of the action. With 14 laps remaining he had to let Joan Mir pass, but as Rins crashed out of the leading group the Italian was soon back up to ninth again. Despite having to contend with tyre degradation in the final stages of the race, he overtook Franco Morbidelli with 9 laps to go and was eager to join the now fight for fourth, but a mistake, with four laps remaining, cost him a couple of tenths. He tried to have another go, but ultimately had to settle for eighth place, 19.110s from the top.
Today's second place means Viñales moves up to fifth in the championship standings with a 100-point gap to first, one position ahead of Rossi, with a 105-point deficit. Yamaha remains third in the constructor standings, and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP also stays in third in the team classification.
Viñales and Rossi will now enjoy a three-week summer break, before they start the second half of the MotoGP World Championship with the Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky, held at the Automotodrom Brno from August 2-4.
“We already predicted yesterday that managing the rear tyre would be key in today’s race, and that was indeed the case. Maverick had shown good pace here all weekend, so we knew the tyres were performing well, but managing the degradation over the whole length of the race is challenging, especially when under pressure from a chasing rider, like Mack was today. He did a fantastic job. He was very consistent and precise, so this second place is well-deserved. Vale used the medium rear tyre, but it didn't behave like we predicted. We had expected a better consistency, especially in the second part of the race, but it didn't keep up its performance level. Because of this Vale wasn't able to attack at the end of the race. We now have a three-week break which we will use to recharge before we head to Brno, where we will have some things that our riders can try during the test.”
MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP RIDER
“We discovered quite early this weekend that second place might be the best we could do here, so with that in mind we achieved the objective. For us it's really good, second is my best result here. I started well, I did a good first few laps. This result means a lot, it prepares me for Brno. I'm really happy, we understand the way to go. Yamaha is working in a good way, and I know our strong and weak points. It's good that we have a summer break to improve the bike and improve myself. The tyre choice was very difficult, I took a gamble with the hard because I worked most of the time with this tyre. It was on the limit if I could or could not finish the race, and I said to myself 'If I need to slow down in the last ten laps, I will, but I will be at the front'. I'm very pleased for Yamaha, it's very important to get a consecutive first and second place. I saw Cal on my pit board the whole time and for about fifteen laps I closed every door. I worked very hard on making sure he couldn't overtake me, because I knew if he did, he would go. Luckily I was second, so I'm very pleased and happy. I can't wait for Brno to try out the new things and see if we take a step.”
MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP RIDER
“I’m not satisfied because it was a difficult race, I suffered a lot. First of all, we used the medium rear tyre because Michelin said to us that it would be impossible to race with the hard, but I had a lot of sliding and not enough grip, so this was the first problem. The bigger problem was that in Assen in the race I felt strong, so here we tried to confirm it, but in reality I wasn’t very fast, I didn’t feel good with the bike. This is a difficult moment, because the last time when we were here, at this part of the championship, I was very competitive. From Le Mans to Sachsenring I did some good races. This year it’s been a lot more difficult, so we need to get a better understanding, because I don’t have a great feeling with the bike and I’m not as fast as we want.”
Sunday, 07 July 2019 18:26 Published in Rider and Team Releases
It was a day of mixed emotions for the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team at the TT Circuit Assen today. Maverick Viñales delivered a strong race performance at the Motul TT Assen round, riding his YZR-M1 to a brilliant victory after a hard fight at the front. Valentino Rossi’s luckless streak continued in the Netherlands. He suffered a crash on lap 5, ending his challenge prematurely.
Viñales had a good start from P2, but a wobble in Turn 1 left him a bit unsettled. He fell back to fourth, which he held crossing the finish line for the first time. There was a small scrap between him and Marc Marquez early on, until the number-12 rider noticed the three front men getting away, prompting him to make his move. As he chased the race leaders, frontrunner Álex Rins crashed. It didn’t shake up the Yamaha rider though. He passed Joan Mir, and then the battle with Marquez and Fabio Quartararo really started.
The 24-year-old was in third place for a while and was having a good look behind Marquez with 14 laps to go, deciding carefully where he would make his move. He first led the race on lap 16, but Marquez proved difficult to shake. With 9 laps to go, the Yamaha rider ran wide going into Turn 1 and fell back to second place, but it was only briefly. He retaliated that same lap by using the Yamaha’s nimble character to perfection, reclaiming the P1 spot. It was the right moment to put his head down, and this time he broke free from his rival. He showed his incredible race pace, setting a personal best lap of 1’33.720s on lap 21. The Spaniard kept his concentration until the very end and took the chequered flag with a 4.854s advantage.
Rossi did well to manoeuvre himself through the busy mid-pack in the early stages of the race. Setting off from P14, he held his position in the opening lap and gained a place on the next. He had found a set-up he liked in this morning's warm-up, and it clearly worked for him in the early stages of the race as he swiftly moved up to 11th place in lap 3.
However bad luck struck for the third time in a row. Eager to hit the front, the Italian attempted to overtake Takaaki Nakagami on lap 5 but suffered a fast crash in Turn 8, unfortunately taking his rival down with him. Thankfully the Doctor was quickly back on his feet and able to check on his fellow rider, but he could not resume his challenge.
Today's NC result means Rossi stays in fifth position in the championship standings with an 88-point gap to first. Viñales on the other hand moves up from eleventh to seventh in the rankings, with a 95-point margin to the top. Yamaha remains third in the constructor standings, whilst Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP gains one position, to third, in the team classification.
The team will be back in action next week, when the riders take on the Sachsenring for the German GP.
“We start with the positives. Maverick was strong all weekend and started the Dutch GP with the same confidence level he had in Barcelona. To have him battle at the front, which is where he belongs, and win in such a convincing manner is fantastic, especially in hot weather, the circumstances in which we struggled in the past. This win is an indication that we’re heading in the right direction and is a very important reward for both Maverick, his team, and Yamaha, because they have been working very hard. It also slightly makes up for the misfortune our team encountered in Catalunya. However, as much as we are happy for Maverick, we are disappointed for Valentino. The race is always tricky when you’re starting from more towards the back, but he had found something he liked in the morning and was on his way up the order when he crashed. It’s a shame, and also very unlucky that Nakagami was taken down too. In any case, we have learned from this weekend and head to the Sachsenring fully motivated to get to work.”
MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP RIDER
"It feels like I'm dreaming. These have been difficult times for me, because I've been out of the three tracks where I thought I had the most potential with the bike. My season has been difficult, but I've tried to keep the momentum from Catalunya, because I felt really good on the bike. I'm so grateful to the team, because they did a great job this weekend and prepared well for the last laps of the race. I was strong, even one-to-one on the brakes, I knew I could make the overtakes. It was very important to relieve some of the pressure by taking a victory. I think the team will be more relaxed now. Being back on the top step of the podium again feels really good and bringing Yamaha back to its winning ways is the most important to me. We knew we had the potential but hadn't been able to show it. It's always a combination between the team's, the rider's, and the bike's efforts. Sachsenring is a track I'm usually fast at, so we'll try our best."
MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP RIDER
"I was quite fast, so I tried to recover some positions. I was battling with Nakagami and I tried to overtake him, entering Turn 8, but I was a bit too much off the line, I think. When I entered the corner, I lost the front and unfortunately I also took out Nakagami, so that's a great shame and I have to say "sorry". It was a mistake and a pity, because today, after being slow this weekend, we had found something, so during the race I was good. I felt good with the bike. So, on one side this makes it an even bigger shame, but on the other side it's also important to realise that I was suffering too much this weekend and that we need to be stronger."
Monday, 01 July 2019 17:39 Published in Rider and Team Releases
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales showed great stamina and character in today’s sweltering Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley, riding back from a provisional 12th to take sixth place at the chequered flag. Valentino Rossi was fortunately unharmed but unable to continue after an unlucky fall on lap 7.
Starting from P7, Viñales lost a few positions in the tussle of entering the first corner and settled in twelfth position. After a few laps he gained two places and tucked in behind fellow Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo, hoping to join the rider group of nine in front.
With relentless focus he reeled them in and tapped them on the back lying in ninth place when Francesco Bagnaia crashed out with 11 laps to go. But soon the group was pulled apart again. The Spaniard, however, used his experience and kept his head cool. Like he predicted yesterday, he managed the tyres and used his great physical fitness to bring a strong challenge to the riders ahead of him in the final stages.
With eight laps to go he gained a place as Jack Miller ended up in the gravel, which was the no.12 rider's cue to start his late charge. Over the next two laps he overtook Quartararo and Crutchlow, moving up to sixth place. With an over 1s-gap to the rival in front of him, the Yamaha man pushed to the max but was unable to inch close enough. He finished sixth, 7.481s from first.
Rossi had a decent start from P18 and, despite the flurry of activity in the busy rider field, gained two positions before crossing the line for the first time. The home hero began his chase, showing good pace, but with 19 laps to go he had to do the work all over again. Having taken 15th from Jorge Lorenzo, he was in the groove but clipped the rear of Joan Mir going into Turn 4 and had to skillfully steer his YZR-M1 through the gravel trap. He rejoined the track in 22nd place.
The Doctor soon moved up a position again as a rival crashed out, but it wasn't to last. Bad luck struck twice when he restarted his hunt. He suffered a crash in Turn 9 with 16 laps to go and was unable to continue his home GP.
Today's unlucky 0-point finish pushed Rossi down to fifth position in the championship standings, with a 43-point gap to first. Viñales’ sixth place result moves him up from tenth to eighth in the rankings, with a 75-point margin to the top. Yamaha is now fourth in the constructor standings, whilst Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP continues to hold third in the team classification.
The team will be back on the track in two weeks’ time for the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, held at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Monday, 03 June 2019 10:23 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
The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team took to the Termas de Río Hondo track today, to prepare for Sunday's Gran Premio Motul de la República Argentina. After a difficult FP1 session, Maverick Viñales' and Valentino Rossi's hard work paid off in FP2, when they secured third and sixth position respectively in the combined free practice results.
The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team had a testing start to this weekend's Gran Premio Motul de la República Argentina but changed it all around in the afternoon. Wheelspin prevented riders Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi from being able to push to the fullest in FP1, but they came back strong in FP2, securing third and sixth position respectively in the combined free practice timesheets.
This morning Viñales calmly prepared for Sunday's race at the Termas de Río Hondo track, steadily upping his pace. He tried various tyre specs and bike settings, to reduce wheelspin in order to be able to put in a good challenge during the important FP2 session. He set a best morning time of 1'41.657s for 18th place, 1.830s from first.
The young gun again displayed his patience in FP2. He used most of the session to make some further set-up changes, before pouncing at the right moment. With 15 minutes of the available time left, the game was on. He quickened his pace to the 1'39s, setting a provisional third fastest lap before the general mini time attacks took place. He responded in the final minutes, concluding the session with a 1'39.345s lap for third place in the FP2 and combined free practice timesheets, 0.164s from first.
Rossi started the Argentina Grand Prix weekend on a more positive note. He worked diligently on his bike's setting in FP1 in preparation for the race on Sunday. Focusing on bike improvement rather than lap times, he ended the morning practice with a 1'40.827s best lap for tenth place, 1.000s from the top of the timesheets.
The Doctor used the second free practice to further fine-tune the balance of his bike, to match it to Termas de Río Hondo's layout, setting everything up for a final push at the end of the session. The Italian rider executed the plan to perfection. As various rivals were also trying to put in a hot lap, the Italian avoided traffic and posted a 1'39.441s lap, earning sixth position in both the FP2 and combined free practice results.
Friday, 29 March 2019 20:41 Published in Rider and Team Releases
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP's Valentino Rossi gave another of his heroic MotoGP performances today in the VisitQatar Grand Prix, riding his YZR-M1 from 14th on the grid to a 5th place finish, just 0.600s from first. Maverick Viñales found a good rhythm late on in the race but wasn't able to challenge the front-runners. He took 7th place.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP's Valentino Rossi pushed to the limit in the 22-lap race at the Losail International Circuit today, making up nine places to finish in fifth position. Maverick Viñales wasn't able to challenge until the final stages of the VisitQatar Grand Prix and crossed the line in seventh place.
Rossi had his work cut out for him, lining up in P14. However, with Fabio Quartararo starting from pit lane, the Italian found himself in 13th place entering the first corner. He gained another position in the opening lap and soon moved past Francesco Bagnaia and Aleix Esparagró to enter the top-10.
His rise in the rankings spurred him on. The Yamaha rider scrapped with Takaaki Nakagami in order to follow team-mate Viñales towards the front group. Knowing that saving tyres for the latter stages of the race would be crucial, Rossi kept his cool, but he had to put his head down when Franco Morbidelli passed him with 12 laps to go. Two laps later the number-46 rider returned the favour, using the slipstream to overtake his compatriot going into turn 1.
It was time to charge. Rossi overtook Viñales after lap 15. He then fought his way past Joan Mir and, with three laps to go, Danilo Petrucci was next. Once inside the top-5, the Doctor put his head down and dropped mid-1'55s laps but fell just short of being able to put in a move. He took the chequered flag in fifth place, just 0.600s from first.
Viñales started from pole but dropped to sixth place in the first corners. As he tried to get into a good rhythm, he fell back to eighth, but he soon started to fight his way back towards the front group. With 18 laps to go, he picked off Nakagami whilst being followed by team-mate Rossi.
The number-12 rider had a first look up the inside of Cal Crutchlow four laps later but decided the better of it. He maintained his tyres to get a second wind with eight laps to go, flashing two red sectors. He connected with the front group but didn't get to enjoy it for long, as Rossi soon passed him. With four laps remaining he found his way through on Mir to follow his team-mate.
The Spaniard posted two personal bests three and two laps before the end, trying to close an over-1.3s gap. However, he wasn't able to challenge the front-runners in the final laps. He crossed the line in seventh place, 2.481s behind the winner.
The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team will be back in action in three weeks' time at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit for the Gran Premio Motul de la República Argentina, held from March 29th – 31st.
Monday, 11 March 2019 18:22 Published in Rider and Team Releases
Losail (Qatar), 25th February 2019 - Today the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team completed the third and final day of the last 2019 MotoGP preseason test. Despite less than desirable riding conditions, Maverick Viñales let his consistency shine again and set the fastest time of the day, also claiming top billing in the combined timesheets. Valentino Rossi likewise elevated his bike's performance level and finished his preseason campaign with a positive fourth place in today's ranking order, and a fifth in the combined times.
Viñales didn't let the strong wind get to him and was focused as ever on getting the job done. He successfully worked on acceleration and set a stunning 1'54.208s on lap 25/50. He went on to complete five further runs, until a little after 9pm local time, and wrapped up the test in first place, both in today's and in the combined standings, with a 0.233s margin over his closest rival.
Rossi found his strong form again during the third day of riding at the Losail International Circuit. He laid a final hand to the setting of his YZR-M1 and showed he is on the right track when he improved his fastest time to a 1'54.651s, set on lap 35/38. He finished in fourth place in today's rankings and in fifth in the combined, 0.443s from teammate.
Thanks to the progress made today, the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team find themselves in a strong place to start the 2019 MotoGP season at the first round in Qatar, held from 8 - 10 March.
MASSIMO MEREGALLI, TEAM DIRECTOR “In the end, this test has been very productive. We came here to confirm the good points we found in Sepang. The riders' feedback has been positive, even though the condition of the track has never been good during these three days. As this was an aspect that caused us to suffer in the past, we're satisfied with our performance. Maverick has been impressive throughout the test, both with his best flying lap, a 1'54.2s, and his consistency. Vale, however, suffered a problem on Day 2, but today they were able to solve the issue and we found a good improvement, resulting in a 1'54.6s. We were able to try different items, including a new rear seat with different aerodynamics. We weren't able to complete our entire schedule - due to the strong and bothersome wind – the race simulation included. Our engineers will use the coming break to analyse all the data in order to finalise the best set-up for FP1, that we are really looking forward to.”
MAVERICK VIÑALES, MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP RIDER “Honestly, I have been riding really good on the track, I felt like I was going very fast with the amount of grip that the track provided today. But we need to improve. I don't have really good grip on the edge, so we need to keep working, especially in that area. On the acceleration side we improved quite a lot since Sepang, and at the moment I'm quite satisfied with what we have in the braking area. My race pace is not bad, I tried ten laps just to understand how the bike is doing, but it was very cold for the medium tyres. Anyway, I rode quite well, with quite a good rhythm. Maybe I could have pushed a little more. However, we still need to improve for the race. I think we are going to be ready. The race will be very important for us. Our bike has really positive points, but also a few negatives, so we now need to come to a conclusion and see where we can improve.”
VALENTINO ROSSI, MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP RIDER “Today was a good day, we worked in a good way and I was quite strong. Also, with the race tyres my pace is quite good, and in the time-attack I was also OK. I'm in P5 at the end of the three days, which is not so bad. For me, also the race pace is quite good, although I think we will need something more to be able to try to fight. But today we already closed the gap by a lot, as we put it all together, with all the staff. I think that, for this night, we're done, and we'll see in two weeks if it's enough.”
Monday, 25 February 2019 15:51 Published in Rider and Team Releases
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team’s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi have completed their testing programme at the Sepang International Circuit today. The third and last eight-hour session was crucial to collect some final data, as the team-mates tried new aero parts. They rode until the very end of the session, not letting any time go to waste. They ultimately took fifth and tenth place respectively in today’s timesheets as well as in the overall 2019 Sepang MotoGP Official Test results.
This morning Viñales picked up where he left off, working on the race spec of his YZR-M1 and the acceleration. He was quick to show the bike’s nimble character again, dropping a 1’58.644s on lap 8, to slot into provisional fourth place in the rankings.
As the session progressed, the order changed slightly with the Spaniard being pushed to fifth in the second hour of riding. However, Viñales was more concerned with finalising his testing programme than putting in a time attack. He completed a 20-lap race simulation and kept riding until the very end when the chequered flag came out. The no. 12 rider completed 79 laps in total and held his fifth position in both today’s and the overall results.
Rossi filled the final day of riding in Malaysia with further evaluating new tyres for Michelin and continued working on the stability in braking and the smoothness of the acceleration, and in the process he also improved on his best time from Day 2 by nearly half a second.
Similar to team-mate Viñales, the Doctor was solely putting his attention towards enhancing his bike’s setting. His fastest lap was a 1’59.155s, set on lap 9, putting him in tenth place for the majority of the day, 0.916s from the top. With a little more than 14 minutes on the clock, the Italian was committed to improving his position in the timesheets but was unable to do so and stayed in tenth place in today’s and the combined timesheets.
The team will now return to Europe whilst the engineers return to Japan to process the data and take their 2019 MotoGP preparation another step further. The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team will regroup in Qatar from 23 – 25 February for the second preseason test of 2019.
Friday, 08 February 2019 18:27 Published in Rider and Team Releases
Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) got within just 0.067 of Jorge Lorenzo’s fastest ever lap of Sepang on Day 2 of testing, with the 1:58.830 set by Lorenzo last season – although not an official lap record – now surely under threat on Day 3. Viñales had been hovering in third for much of the latter part of the day and left his vie at record-breaking late as the final few minutes saw time attacks light up the timesheets. More than three tenths up before the final sector, the Spaniard eventually crossed the line 0.527 ahead of nearest rival Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar), setting both a supreme lap and a serious benchmark.
That built on a positive first day on the timesheets for Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP and Valentino Rossi in sixth added to the good vibes. The veteran Italian did 51 laps and was only two tenths off second, although the distance to his teammate stretched out from there. The Iwata marque confirmed they have a busy agenda, with different winglets and chassis items on the menu. Happy with progress since November, Team Director Massimo Meregalli says the biggest focus from Sepang is the last part of the corner and specifically, acceleration.
Petronas Yamaha SRT’s Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli ended the day in P14 and P15 respectively – and they both completed a valuable 58 laps.
Alex Rins was the man who lost his top spot to Viñales after seeming set to end the day fastest, but the Spaniard’s 1:59.424 was nevertheless an incredible lap time and he did 61 laps on Thursday. Team Manager Davide Brivio said it’s going well and they have different swingarms, new aerodynamics with both riders and some different combinations; engine mapping, clutch, “things like that” – as well as an exhaust to try on Day 2. The Italian said their focus is fitting together the “puzzle” correctly for the first race, and the timesheets seem to bode well for Rins despite the Hamamatsu factory losing their concessions in 2019. Rookie teammate Joan Mir ended the day in P21 after 64 laps.
On Rins’ tail was the fastest Ducati on Day 2 and once again it was an Independent Team rider – this time Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing). The Australian was a late mover like those above him and was only a tenth off Rins by the end of play, putting in 49 laps. Just behind him came Andrea Dovizioso, who was the fastest Mission Winnow Ducati and looked set to top the day’s action until the late flurry of fast laps saw him pushed down to fourth. Initially, the number 04 was working on frames and Team Manager Davide Tardozzi confirmed that teammate Danilo Petrucci was focused on finding a better connection between the throttle and the rear tyre – working on the electronics and engine. Roles were then reversed, and Tardozzi also confirmed the Borgo Panigale factory also had some work on aero planned. That’s expected tomorrow. Today, it was two red machines in tandem as the two were on track together on some longer runs in the afternoon, with Petrucci saying he has “more to learn” than his teammate and ending the day in ninth. Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing) pipped him on his GP18 to end Thursday in P7, with Francesco Bagnaia fastest rookie in P12 for Alma Pramac Racing.
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) put in a good showing on Thursday to take fifth overall and end the day as fastest Honda. The Brit is returning from a badly broken ankle sustained at Phillip Island last season but managed 53 laps to end the session within just 0.004 of Dovizioso. He also suffered a crash; Rider OK. Next up for Honda was eighth-placed Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), who downed tools early once again and put in 37 laps on Day 2 – although some of those were a longer run in the afternoon. The team confirmed they’re on schedule despite the lighter lap load for the reigning Champion, too – with Marquez routinely having done over 90 laps per test day last season – and were working on the new bike, new engine and electronics, with a lot to get through including some different fairings. Crutchlow’s teammate Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) took P10 after 60 laps, with Stefan Bradl (Honda Test Team) taking P16 after 59 laps.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing saw some tables turned on Day 2 as Johann Zarco ended the day as fastest Austrian machine for the first time since his switch to the marque. He said he outstripped his expected progress for the day and it made him smile to dip below the 2 minute mark for the first time, and he ended the day in P11 after 58 laps. Teammate Pol Espargaro was P17 and just over three tenths off. KTM test rider Mika Kallio was a couple of places back, and just pipped Red Bull KTM Tech 3 rookie Miguel Oliveira. Malaysian Hafizh Syahrin had a tougher day, outside the top twenty.
Aprilia Racing Team Gresini, meanwhile, had a race simulation fairly early on Day 2 for Aleix Espargaro as Andrea Iannone remained focused on adaptation. Bike balance, electronics and torque control were a focus for the Noale factory. Espargaro ended the day in P13 after 54 laps, Iannone in P18 after 39. Romano Albesiano, Technical Manager, also confirmed that it’s not just the immediate future the marque are working towards, with plans made to make some big changes in testing in order to set up some more radical development later in the season.
Thursday, 07 February 2019 13:13 Published in Reports, Results & Points
MotoGP™ has a tendency to keep making history of late, and the Gran Premio Motul de la Republica Argentina was no different - as Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) became the first Yamaha rider since Wayne Rainey in 1990 to win the first two races of the year, taking a stunning win as drama hit the grid behind. Teammate Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) created another miracle in P2, with LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow completing the podium in style as top Independent Team rider.
Viñales soon attacked Crutchlow to take P2, before the first of the high drama hit up ahead and Marquez suddenly hit the floor at Turn 2 – having been almost two seconds clear.
That left Viñales in P1, with Crutchlow and Rossi on the chase and the gap holding steady just above half a second - before the man of the moment began to pull away. The ‘Doctor’ was left to hunt down Crutchlow, with the two holding station until Rossi struck with 7 laps to go, getting past the Brit in style at Turn 5 and pulling away for a second consecutive podium – in his 350th World Championship start.
There was all-out war for P4 as Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) battled to get past Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing), with Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) getting in the mix. After a short and spectacular duel between Pedrosa and Zarco, the Spaniard broke free to set the fastest lap – before disaster struck for the ‘Baby Samurai’ as he crashed out of the race in the same place as teammate Marquez had done a handful of laps earlier.
Even then, the drama wasn’t done as ‘DesmoDovi’ went wide at Turn 5 soon after, with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) taking the inside line and then losing the front – sliding helplessly into the Italian and both out the race.
Behind and including Crutchlow, it was another fantastic day for the Independent Teams as the dust settled, with Bautista taking fourth and Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Zarco and Jonas Folger taking fifth and sixth. Petrucci, after running out of rear grip, crossed the line in a solid P7 – ahead of a good fight back from his teammate Scott Redding at the head of the next group.
Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) enjoyed another top ten result in ninth behind Redding, with front row starter Karel Abraham (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) completing the top ten only tenths ahead of Loris Baz (Reale Avintia Racing) after the Frenchman was forced wide early on.
Tito Rabat (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) was P12 in front of Hector Barbera (Reale Avintia Racing), with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing pairing Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith incredibly close to the two men ahead in P14 and P15 respectively. The Austrian manufacturer is now a points scorer with both riders, opening their account early in only round two.
After a great start from a difficult grid position, it was disaster for Ducati Team’s Jorge Lorenzo on the first lap as the five-time World Champion crashed out early after contact with old nemesis Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) – the ‘Spartan’ thankfully escaping unhurt, and Iannone continuing. The ‘Maniac’ was also given a ride through penalty soon after for a jump start, dropping him down the order and out of contention to cross the line as the final finisher.
For full results, click here.
Austin, Texas now awaits – a chance for Marquez to strike back at a venue he has always ruled, and a chance for Viñales to change that statistic as we head into round three.
Monday, 10 April 2017 10:29 Published in Reports, Results & Points