Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Maverick Viñales had a challenging start to the Motul Grand Prix of Japan, but with his typical determination took seventh position, so he can continue to fight for second and third place in the final three rounds of the 2018 MotoGP World Championship.
Viñales didn’t have the start he had hoped for and needed a little time to get into the groove. He began the race as seventh on the grid but was pushed back to tenth in the busy first corners. Lapping in the mid-1’46s, the Spaniard was unable to keep a charging Bautista at bay but gained a position as Jack Miller crashed on lap 11. He moved up another place when Iannone fell four laps later and used this as his cue to up the pace.
The youngster dropped into the low 1’46s just when the riders in front of him started to struggle a little. He launched his first attack on Dani Pedrosa on lap 19, but it didn’t last. A lap later he made it stick and put his head down. He knew that closing the over 2s margin to Bautista and Zarco would be a tall order and instead made it his priority to win some championship points. After Dovizioso went down, the number 25 rider took seventh place at the chequered flag, 13.330s from the race winner.
Yamalube Yamaha Factory Racing Team wild card rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga made his experience count in Motegi today. He rode a confident race, securing a strong 14th place aboard his YZR-M1, finishing 32.550s from first. This achievement earns him two championship points and puts him in 24th place, ahead of seven other riders.
Today’s results see Rossi hold third position in the championship standings with just a 9-point gap to second. Viñales remains in fourth place with a 30-point gap to his teammate. Yamaha holds third place in the Constructor Championship after the race in Japan, with a 100-point margin to first, while the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Teamhave reclaimed second position in the team standings with a 51-point gap to first.
Yamaha extend their congratulations to Marc Márquez of the Repsol Honda Team on taking the 2018 MotoGP World Championship Title.
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team will be back in action at the Phillip Island circuit next weekend for the Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, held from October 26th – 28th.
We shuffled a lot with the settings of the bike, but we couldn’t be fast in today’s race. We tried something different before the race, but it didn’t really work. We followed a direction we used in Buriram to see if that would work, but in the end it wasn’t like that. I couldn’t ride like I wanted to, so we need to keep working and trying to stay focused on the way we manage the race weekend, and stay strong. We are going to try to do our best again on Phillip Island, and we’ll try to see where we stand.