Viñales Salvages 13th Place in European GP
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales managed a very challenging race flawlessly at the Circuito de la Comunitat Valenciana – Ricardo Tormo. Despite starting from pit lane, he secured 13th place, thanks to his never-ceasing efforts. Valentino Rossi encountered an issue with his bike and had to end the race early.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales’ main goal for the day was to collect as many championship points as possible at the Gran Premio de Europa, and he took 13th place. Valentino Rossi was riding in the busy mid-pack when an issue with the bike ended his race early.
Viñales had to start from pit lane, only being allowed to head out after the other riders passed the exit of the pit road. Despite the early disadvantage, the home hero soon made his way up the order due to early crashes and retirements of opponents.
He soon found his way to 15th place, within the points. With 15 laps to go, he gained another place, spurring him on to keep pushing and salvage crucial championship points. He was rapidly closing in on Stefan Bradl in front of him, reducing the over-9s gap to just 1.053s as he crossed the finish line. He ended the race in 13th place, 25.403s from first.
Rossi had a strong start from 18th on the grid and followed it up by choosing the outside line in the opening corners, picking up multiple positions. He finished the first lap in 13th place. The Italian was keen on progressing through the busy mid-pack, but an issue with his bike ended his challenge on lap 5.
After last Sunday’s race, Viñales is now fourth in the standings, 41 points from the top of the leaderboard. Rossi remains in 15th place, with a 104-point gap to first. Yamaha is third in the constructor standings, and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP ranks fifth in the team classification.
The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team will return to action at the same Ricardo Tormo track next week for the Grand Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana.
Maverick Viñales: “Today‘s race was always going to be difficult. The bike wasn‘t perfect, because we had so little time to prepare for a dry race, but that is just the way it is. Finishing in 13th place when starting from pit lane is not horrible, but it‘s not fantastic either, especially considering the championship. But I don‘t want to think about that too much. I prefer to focus on improving the bike and trying to enjoy the second race in Valencia and the upcoming round in Portimão.”
Valentino Rossi: “For me personally, not being able to finish the race today is a great shame, because I needed these 27 laps, just to do a race again. I also needed them to collect data to understand how to be stronger for next weekend’s race here in Valencia. I was there in the race today, and I was just trying to understand how to ride in the best way, but unfortunately the bike stopped. The situation is not easy in Valencia. Last week, in Aragon, Yamaha won with Franco, but we are struggling to find grip here. It wasn’t a great weekend for me to find a way to improve, but we will see what we can do next week.”
Massimo Meregalli (Team Director): “It was a very difficult race weekend for us here in Valencia, and race day was no different. Maverick made the most of the situation, though. He had to start from pit lane, which naturally lost him a lot of time. Yet he had a good rhythm, especially in the second part of the race, even though he wasn’t fully happy with the set-up of the bike. But this was to be expected as we didn’t have any fully dry sessions this weekend before today. It’s tough to accept that – besides Maverick having to start from pit lane – Valentino had an issue with his bike in the same race. We had really hoped that his return to MotoGP would have ended on a higher note. But the data collected by him and Maverick today helps the team for next week‘s Valencia GP, which is also held at this circuit. We don’t always like racing at the same place twice, but in this case we want to make the most of the upcoming second round in Valencia to have a do-over. Despite the difficulties that we are facing, we are going to keep giving it our all. The challenge of winning the rider and constructor championship titles is really tough right now, but we‘re not going down without a fight.”
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