A perfectly sunny race day at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) delivered nothing short of a sensational Grand Prix of The Americas. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP's Valentino Rossi put his heart and soul into today’s race and only just missed out on the victory, taking 2nd position. Maverick Viñales had an equally competitive race pace, but a ride through penalty after a jump start cost him valuable time and places. Still the Spaniard kept going, cutting through the rider pack all the way back up to 11th place.
Rossi rushed off the line, dashing towards the tight left first corner, just like he planned. He knew that if he wanted to challenge for the win today, he would have to push 100% right from the very start. He was doing a superb job to block Cal Crutchlow, whilst chasing Marc Márquez.
With 15 laps to go, The Doctor got a bit of breathing space as Crutchlow crashed out. At the time Márquez was almost 3s ahead of him, but the Italian never gave up. He searched for the perfect balance between keeping the pressure on and managing his tyres, and it paid off. Márquez crashed out with 12 laps to go, giving Yamaha the lead in the race.
The events also spurred on the chasing Álex Rins, but Rossi managed the gap until, with five laps to go, the battle for the victory was on. Rins came through a lap later. The veteran tried to retaliate, using a block pass, but it was unsuccessful and resulted in 0.5s gap. The number 46 rider was making a great attempt to undo the damage, inching closer, but he ran wide with two laps to go, meaning he had to do the work all over again. He wasn’t giving up, though. In the last lap Rossi managed to make up a lot of time and was looking threatening behind Rins in the final sector, but ultimately he came just 0.462s short as they crossed the finish line.
Viñales held firm at the start of Round 3, defending his P6 going into turn 1. He battled with Andrea Dovizioso and crossed the line for the first time in seventh place. With 17 laps to go, Viñales had to let Franco Morbidelli past, and more bad news was on the horizon as he was given a ride through penalty for a jump start.
A moment of confusion lost him 4s and five places, as he unnecessarily took the long-lap penalty lane. He completed the ride through penalty in pit lane on the next lap, which moved him even further back, to 19th place.
Though down the order, the Spaniard wasn’t out for the count. He soon flashed a red sector and started to climb up the ranking again. Whilst various riders retired from the race, he passed Hafizh Syahrin and found himself in P16, nearly back into the points and lapping more than 1s quicker than a group of nine riders ahead of him. He soon gained two more places, closed an almost 4s gap, took another two positions, closed a 5s gap, and overtook yet another rider to salvage an 11th place finish, 34.077s from first.
Today's results see Rossi climb to 2nd position in the championship standings with a 3-point gap to first. Viñales is now in 12th place, with a 40-point margin to the top. Yamaha is joint second in the constructor standings, and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP is also second in the team classifications.
The team will be back in action in three weeks' time, when the MotoGP paddock embarks upon the European leg of the championship, starting with the Spanish GP, held at the Circuito de Jerez - Ángel Nieto.
Monday, 15 April 2019 11:22 Published in Rider and Team Releases
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi saved the best for last at the Gran Premio Motul de la República Argentina weekend. He used his experience to cunningly make his move - a perfectly executed block pass - in Turn 7 of the very last lap, to take a superb second place. The final lap wasn’t lucky for team-mate Maverick Viñales. Though his challenge wasn’t all smooth sailing, he was looking competitive in the final stages of the race. He was lying in seventh place when another rider collected him on lap 25, resulting in an N.C. score.
Rossi had a strong start from fourth on the grid, held his position in the first corner, and shortly after moved up to second place. He aimed to prevent any riders from checking out at the front but didn't succeed, as he fell back to fifth in the busy group. Not for long, though: he steadily worked his way back to second place to lead the chasing pack.
Despite running wide on lap 7, he quickly made up for the lost time. When he was back in second place a lap later, the crowds were on their feet. As Marc Marquez was already over 6s ahead thanks to the battles of the chasing group, the Italian focused on defending his position.
While the number 46 rider’s tussles with Andrea Dovizioso for second place continued, the pair gradually broke away from the others. The Yamaha rider observed the riding style of his rival and perfectly picked the place and moment to pounce: on the last lap, in Turn 7, he put his YZR-M1 on the inside and made it stick. He crossed the line in second place 9.816s from first.
Viñales had a rocky start from second place on the grid, but was quick to slot into fifth, behind his team-mate. He made good on yesterday's promise to ride aggressively in the opening laps, moving past Jack Miller for fourth before crossing the line for the first time. However, the moment was short-lived. The Spaniard was swamped in the busy bustle of the front group and fell back to eighth.
He wasn’t taking it lying down, though. He earned back seventh place and pushed to the fullest to latch on to the group fighting for second. He was hanging in there but lost two positions as he ran wide with 9 laps to go.
Still Viñales didn’t give up. He had ensured his soft-soft tyre combination would last for the entire 25-lap race-length, and now he was about to pick the fruits of his labour. With five laps to go, he overtook Takaaki Nakagami for eighth. He had to close a 0.9s gap next and managed to reach the back of the group in front. He soon found himself in seventh position, but on the last lap disaster struck. Another rider accidentally clipped the back of Viñales’ bike, ending his challenge.
Today's results see Rossi climb to 3rd position in the championship standings with a 10-point gap to second and a 14-point margin to first. Viñales is now in 11th place, with a 36-point gap to first. Yamaha is third in the constructor standings, and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP holds the same position in the team classifications.
The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team will be back in action in two weeks' time, when the MotoGP paddock touches down in the United States for the Grand Prix of the Americas, held at the COTA track in Austin, Texas.
"We are very happy and satisfied with this second place, though we are disappointed for Maverick. This weekend the team worked really well. We had some difficulties in FP1 and we were able to correct them and find solutions quite early on. This morning after the Warm Up, Valentino ultimately made the right decision for him, choosing the medium rear tyre. It has been a good team effort, so we really want to enjoy this second place. Maverick was feeling well on the soft tyres during Warm Up, so he decided to go ahead with them. However, already from the beginning of the race he was having difficulties when stopping the bike. We have to analyse this problem and try to understand it, because it's a pity he couldn't be as fast as this morning. To make matter worse, he was collected by Morbidelli on the final lap. It was a shame, but the most important thing is that both riders are OK. Still, the podium result is a good boost for us all and gives us good motivation for the next round."
MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP RIDER
"It's been a long time – since Sachsenring last year – that I've been on the podium. This second place is especially satisfying, because at the last two races last year, Malaysia and Valencia, I was lying in first and second place, but I made some mistakes. Finishing the championship like that was very difficult to accept, so also for this reason this result is so important for me, my team, and Yamaha, after a difficult period. I'm so happy! I tried to stay in front, because I expected to be faster, but today with the increased temperatures I struggled a bit more. Dovi stayed in front of me and rode a very good race with a good pace. We were able to break away from the guys behind us and be on our own. In that moment I knew I had to be very precise on braking to take second place, without making any mistake of even 1cm, else Dovi would pass me again. At that moment I was riding good, I entered very fast. I'm happy because, first of all, overtaking on the last lap is always special, and also because I did very good on braking."
MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP RIDER
"I saw the replay of the incident with Franco and it was nothing. It was the last lap and we all tried to be at our best, so it's just one mistake, and it is what it is. Maybe at the next race I will make the same mistake, it's something you can explain, it's not a problem. The soft tyres were for sure the right decision, because in the first lap, though I didn't start well, I was overtaking many riders, so finally at the end of lap 1 I think I was third or fourth. So that was not bad. But the bike wasn't working perfectly, so we need to keep working and see if we can solve it for the next race. Honestly, I feel good at every track, we show good potential. It's always in the race that we have an issue. When the bike is there, I'm always in the top-3."
Monday, 01 April 2019 10:35 Published in Rider and Team Releases
Losail (Qatar), 25th February 2019 - Today the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team completed the third and final day of the last 2019 MotoGP preseason test. Despite less than desirable riding conditions, Maverick Viñales let his consistency shine again and set the fastest time of the day, also claiming top billing in the combined timesheets. Valentino Rossi likewise elevated his bike's performance level and finished his preseason campaign with a positive fourth place in today's ranking order, and a fifth in the combined times.
Viñales didn't let the strong wind get to him and was focused as ever on getting the job done. He successfully worked on acceleration and set a stunning 1'54.208s on lap 25/50. He went on to complete five further runs, until a little after 9pm local time, and wrapped up the test in first place, both in today's and in the combined standings, with a 0.233s margin over his closest rival.
Rossi found his strong form again during the third day of riding at the Losail International Circuit. He laid a final hand to the setting of his YZR-M1 and showed he is on the right track when he improved his fastest time to a 1'54.651s, set on lap 35/38. He finished in fourth place in today's rankings and in fifth in the combined, 0.443s from teammate.
Thanks to the progress made today, the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team find themselves in a strong place to start the 2019 MotoGP season at the first round in Qatar, held from 8 - 10 March.
MASSIMO MEREGALLI, TEAM DIRECTOR “In the end, this test has been very productive. We came here to confirm the good points we found in Sepang. The riders' feedback has been positive, even though the condition of the track has never been good during these three days. As this was an aspect that caused us to suffer in the past, we're satisfied with our performance. Maverick has been impressive throughout the test, both with his best flying lap, a 1'54.2s, and his consistency. Vale, however, suffered a problem on Day 2, but today they were able to solve the issue and we found a good improvement, resulting in a 1'54.6s. We were able to try different items, including a new rear seat with different aerodynamics. We weren't able to complete our entire schedule - due to the strong and bothersome wind – the race simulation included. Our engineers will use the coming break to analyse all the data in order to finalise the best set-up for FP1, that we are really looking forward to.”
MAVERICK VIÑALES, MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP RIDER “Honestly, I have been riding really good on the track, I felt like I was going very fast with the amount of grip that the track provided today. But we need to improve. I don't have really good grip on the edge, so we need to keep working, especially in that area. On the acceleration side we improved quite a lot since Sepang, and at the moment I'm quite satisfied with what we have in the braking area. My race pace is not bad, I tried ten laps just to understand how the bike is doing, but it was very cold for the medium tyres. Anyway, I rode quite well, with quite a good rhythm. Maybe I could have pushed a little more. However, we still need to improve for the race. I think we are going to be ready. The race will be very important for us. Our bike has really positive points, but also a few negatives, so we now need to come to a conclusion and see where we can improve.”
VALENTINO ROSSI, MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP RIDER “Today was a good day, we worked in a good way and I was quite strong. Also, with the race tyres my pace is quite good, and in the time-attack I was also OK. I'm in P5 at the end of the three days, which is not so bad. For me, also the race pace is quite good, although I think we will need something more to be able to try to fight. But today we already closed the gap by a lot, as we put it all together, with all the staff. I think that, for this night, we're done, and we'll see in two weeks if it's enough.”
Monday, 25 February 2019 15:51 Published in Rider and Team Releases