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Challenging Spanish GP Through Grip Issues for Movistar Yamaha

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi gave their all in an eventful race today, but a struggle with grip saw the riders finish in sixth and tenth place respectively at the Gran Premio de España.

JEREZ DE LA FRONTERA (SPAIN), 7TH MAY 2017

A lack of grip at a heated Circuito de Jerez was the biggest challenge for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales today. The teammates put in a solid effort to keep up the pace, scoring sixth and tenth place respectively.

Viñales started from fourth on the grid, but got pushed back to fifth as the field bunched up in the first corner. He put his head down, but had to let Johann Zarco pass him as he used the opening laps to get heat into his tyres. At the end of lap 5 the familiar number 25 found himself in ninth after a flurry of activity. Jorge Lorenzo had squeezed past and a little later a close battle between Viñales and Andrea Iannone caused both riders to go wide, allowing Rossi and Andrea Dovizioso through. However, the young Spaniard wasn’t out of contention yet.

The Yamaha rider was on a second wind and fought his way past Iannone, as Cal Crutchlow crashed out of fourth place. After overtaking Rossi and Dovizioso in one swoop, with 14 laps to go, Viñales tried to shake off both rivals, but was unable to clear off completely. Dovizioso put up a fight and, with ten laps to go, a small moment for the home hero meant he had to hand over fifth place. The Spaniard kept his cool and opted to secure ten solid points for the championship, crossing the line in sixth position, 24.556s from first, after a challenging race weekend.

Teammate Rossi had a solid start from seventh position, climbing up a place going into the first twisty section, but it wasn’t to last. He crossed the line for the first time in seventh place as he got into an early battle with Zarco, and later with Lorenzo and Viñales. However, the nine-time World Champion soon saw an opportunity to move up the order and grabbed it with both hands.

Within five laps the Doctor moved up from ninth to fifth, but had to make his YZR-M1 as wide as possible to hold off Dovizioso. With 17 laps to go, a small wobble cost Rossi fifth position. It was the first sign of grip troubles for the Italian, who was unable to keep a charging Danilo Petrucci, Aleix Espargaró and Jonas Folger at bay. He crossed the line in tenth place, 38.682s from the front.

Viñales’s sixth place puts him on 60 points and second place in the rankings, two points behind championship leader Rossi, who has earned a total of 62 points. Today’s results see Yamaha still holding the lead in the Constructor’s Championship with a four-point margin. The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team also remains on top in the Team’s Championship standings, 12 points ahead of its closest rival.

The Yamaha Factory Racing Team will be back in action in two weeks’ time for the Grand Prix de France at the Le Mans Bugatti Grand Prix race circuit.

MASSIMO MEREGALLI
TEAM DIRECTOR

Today’s results make for a disappointing ending to the first European round of the season. After the warm up results, we couldn’t have expected that the Spanish GP was going to turn out to be this type of race. Maverick started the race with the same configuration as he had during the warm up, but from the very beginning of the race he struggled with the front. Valentino had exactly the same problem. It seems the hardest front tyre works better on our bike in cooler temperatures, because this was the only difference between the warm up and the race. We will analyse today’s data and learn from it. Luckily, tomorrow we will spend one more day testing here, so we will try to understand what caused today’s outcome.

MAVERICK VIÑALES
MOVISTAR YAMAHA MOTOGP RIDER

It was a strange day. In the warm up I was feeling really good, so precise in all the breaking points, but in the afternoon I didn’t have the same feeling. I felt like I was going to crash in nearly every corner, so it was a really strange and difficult day for us. It has been difficult for both sides of the box. We have to think about what happened and try to improve for the next races, because we lost some important points for the championship.

VALENTINO ROSSI
MOVISTAR YAMAHA MOTOGP RIDER

It was a very difficult race after a difficult weekend. I never had a good feeling with the bike and the tyres. We tried to work a lot, especially to fix the spin and acceleration, but unfortunately for the race we did worse. We tried to modify it a bit, but I was also in trouble with the front. At the end I had to slow down a lot and had a lot of vibration. It was OK to arrive right at the end, but it was a difficult weekend for the whole team. We expected to be stronger and more competitive at this track, looking at the results of last year. We need to try and understand what happened, tomorrow we have the test and we’ll see.