Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales‘ persistence earned them valuable points for the championship today. They pushed to the fullest at a hot and slippery Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto, securing fifth and seventh place respectively.
Viñales had a difficult start to the 25-lap race. He shadowed his teammate in the first lap, in tenth position, but fell back to thirteenth place on the fourth lap. As some rivals crashed out, he moved up two positions, but had to hand one back when Alvaro Bautista passed him on lap 7.
The Yamaha rider was keen on pleasing his fans, who had travelled from far and wide to watch his home Grand Prix. He was pushing hard to keep posting low 1‘40s and, as multiple riders crashed out of the race on lap 18, he moved further up the order to ninth place. The young fighter seized the opportunity and started to gain momentum. He overtook Franco Morbidelli two laps later and put his head down, setting his fastest lap of the race in lap 21. He was consistently closing in on Bautista and made his move two laps before the end to take a hard-fought seventh place, 13.543s from the leader.
Today’s race results see Viñales staying in third place in the championship standings, with 50 points. Rossi gained a place, holding sixth with a 40-point total. Yamaha remains second in the Constructor Championship with 76 points, while Movistar Yamaha MotoGP is still in first position in the Team Championship, having scored 90 points.
The team will be back on track tomorrow in Jerez, Spain, for a one-day official IRTA-test, followed by a private test in Italy later next week.
“We were a little lucky because some riders made a mistake and we could jump up the leaderboard. I was unable to go fast from the first lap and I was struggling a lot to stay with Morbidelli and Bautista. At the end I had a little bit more grip and I pushed, so I was a little bit stronger than Alvaro, but we can’t be happy with seventh place. At the moment I’m mostly focused on the setting of the bike – we’re not so far off a solution. The bike is working well, but we still need to work. We tried to solve it by changing the set-up, but I don’t think that what we tried is the way forward. We have to continue to give our all to get the best results we can at the next race.”