Rossi takes 9th place in Styrian 12 lap sprint following a technical issue for Viñales
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Valentino Rossi had two brilliant starts in Race Part 1 and Part 2, making up various places, which was the key to him securing ninth place at today’s Grand Prix of Styria. Maverick Viñales suffered a technical issue with the brakes in Race Part 1, which resulted in him abandoning his bike right before Turn 1, causing a red flag situation. He was lucky to walk away from the incident without any injuries but had to sit out the restart as per racing protocol.
Rossi had a tremendous start from P14 in Race Part 1, making up five positions in the opening lap. However, the momentum didn‘t last. He was in eleventh position after lap 16 when his team-mate‘s misfortunes caused a red flag situation.
Pit lane reopened at 14:35 LT for 60 seconds in a quick restart procedure. The Doctor started Race Part 2 from P11 and moved straight up to ninth, picking up another place in the second lap. He was now in eighth, at the back of a four-rider fight for fourth place, but he struggled to match their pace and lost a position to Alex Rins with 7 laps to go. However, the Italian retaliated immediately when Rins went wide. Rossi’s quest for eighth continued until the very end. The Yamaha man was close to overtaking Brad Binder but came just short and crossed the finish line in ninth place, 4.517s from first.
Viñales started Race Part 1 from fifth place on the grid and kept himself out of trouble in the frantic first lap, crossing the line in sixth place. He was overtaken by Andrea Dovizioso, but the Yamaha rider had the pace to stay with him. He made a move on lap 6 but couldn‘t keep the Italian behind him on the long straights.
However, it later became apparent that the Spaniard had an issue under braking. He soon got involved in a battle with charging riders and slowly dropped back to 13th place. With 12 laps to go, Viñales had to make the brave decision to disembark while riding 220 km/h when his brakes malfunctioned approaching Turn 1. This ended his Sunday with an NP result, because he couldn‘t take part in the race restart.
After today‘s race Viñales is fifth in the championship rankings, 22 points from the leader. Rossi is now in seventh place, with a 25-point gap to first. Yamaha remains first in the constructor standings, and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP also stay in second place in the team classification.
Rossi and Viñales will now enjoy a two-week break before they will head to Italy for the Gran Premio di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, held from 11 – 13 September.
I knew that we would have to suffer a bit here, especially in the second weekend, because all the other manufacturers and riders were stronger and able to improve their pace after the first Spielberg race weekend. We’re a bit worried because, though we knew this track isn’t fantastic for us, we had hoped that the gap to the others would be smaller. So, it was a difficult race, with another red flag. Fortunately, Maverick was able to jump off the bike in time, it was a very scary moment. In these last two weekends we were on the limit with the brakes, especially with the Yamaha. I had a problem with it last week, and this week we modified it, working together with Brembo. In the first race today, the brakes were not fantastic, but in the second race the brakes were good, and I didn’t have any particular problems. Now we have to work and hope that in other tracks, like Misano, we can be more competitive. I live very close to that circuit, so it’s easy for me to get to the track. We hope to be more competitive there, because last year we were strong. We hope we can fight for top positions again this year.
I was losing the brakes from lap 4 onwards. I tried my best. I tried to overtake Dovizioso, and I did overtake him, but suddenly on the straight he overtook me again. These have been three really tough races where we could have done a really good job, but due to our mistakes we’re not at the front. For sure, today’s crash was amazing. I never had that feeling before, where I completely lose the brakes and have to jump off. I understand how it happened, the brake overheated, but for sure it’s not a common problem. Luckily, I’m okay. This is the most important thing. I will be 100% fit again in Misano. You know, we have to stay positive and focus on the next rounds. Misano is a good track for us, last year I was very strong there, and I think this year I can do even better.