A lack of grip at a heated Circuito de Jerez was the biggest challenge for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales today. The teammates put in a solid effort to keep up the pace, scoring sixth and tenth place respectively.
Viñales started from fourth on the grid, but got pushed back to fifth as the field bunched up in the first corner. He put his head down, but had to let Johann Zarco pass him as he used the opening laps to get heat into his tyres. At the end of lap 5 the familiar number 25 found himself in ninth after a flurry of activity. Jorge Lorenzo had squeezed past and a little later a close battle between Viñales and Andrea Iannone caused both riders to go wide, allowing Rossi and Andrea Dovizioso through. However, the young Spaniard wasn‘t out of contention yet.
The Yamaha rider was on a second wind and fought his way past Iannone, as Cal Crutchlow crashed out of fourth place. After overtaking Rossi and Dovizioso in one swoop, with 14 laps to go, Viñales tried to shake off both rivals, but was unable to clear off completely. Dovizioso put up a fight and, with ten laps to go, a small moment for the home hero meant he had to hand over fifth place. The Spaniard kept his cool and opted to secure ten solid points for the championship, crossing the line in sixth position, 24.556s from first, after a challenging race weekend.
Viñales’s sixth place puts him on 60 points and second place in the rankings, two points behind championship leader Rossi, who has earned a total of 62 points. Today‘s results see Yamaha still holding the lead in the Constructor’s Championship with a four-point margin. The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team also remains on top in the Team’s Championship standings, 12 points ahead of its closest rival.
The Yamaha Factory Racing Team will be back in action in two weeks’ time for the Grand Prix de France at the Le Mans Bugatti Grand Prix race circuit.
“It was a strange day. In the warm up I was feeling really good, so precise in all the breaking points, but in the afternoon I didn’t have the same feeling. I felt like I was going to crash in nearly every corner, so it was a really strange and difficult day for us. It has been difficult for both sides of the box. We have to think about what happened and try to improve for the next races, because we lost some important points for the championship.”
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