Maverick Viñales struggled to match the pace at the start of the race but rode a strong second half to secure eighth position.
Viñales didn‘t get off to a good start from the third place of the grid and was swamped going into the first corner. Riding with the harder tyre spec that takes longer to warm up, he fell further back and completed the first lap in 11th place. As the tyres started to warm, the the youngster began to stalk fellow Yamaha rider Johann Zarco. A personal best time on lap 9 put him in a perfect position to pass the Frenchman at the start of lap 10.
From that point on, the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP man had a lonely ride, trying to close a nearly four-second gap to the rider in front of him. As the race went on, Viñales‘ confidence grew. He kept his laps inside the 1‘48s and with five laps to go he tagged onto the back of the fight for third place, at the time led by his teammate. The Spaniard was looking threatening, but having used up his tyres, he was not able to gain any further positions. He took the chequered flag in eighth place, 11.060s behind the leader.
Rossi‘s podium finish moves him up to second position in the championship standings with 72 points, 5 points ahead of teammate Viñales, who dropped down to third. These results keep Yamaha in second place in the Constructor Championship, decreasing the margin to first to 22 points, while the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team reclaimed first position in the team standings and now have a 15-point gap to the second team.
MotoGP will be back in action in two weeks’ time at Viñales‘ home Grand Prix, the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, held at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya from June 15th – 17th.
“The race wasn‘t as I expected it would be after FP4. In the warm up I got a different feeling from the bike than during the race. I lost the front almost in every corner in the first laps. That was a shame, because after that I was one of the faster riders on the track after lap 10. Finally, I destroyed the front tyre and I couldn‘t be on the podium, but I tried my best, like always.”