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Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Returns to Form with Austrian Podium Fight

Movistar Yamaha_081416

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Jorge Lorenzo made a stunning return to form today, taking third in the NeroGiardini Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich at the Red Bull Ring – Spielberg circuit. Valentino Rossi was also setting an impressive pace as he followed his teammate for most of the race and claimed valuable points with a fourth place finish.

Starting from fourth on the grid, Lorenzo catapulted from the line but was clipped by Marc Marquez going turn one, but despite being pushed wide the Mallorcan made a quick dash to the front and joined the front fight between Rossi, Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone and skillfully put his YZR-M1 in second place behind the latter. The Factory Yamaha rider was eager to hit the front, making multiple overtaking manoeuvres but it wasn’t to last and he had to let Dovizioso past.

With a small margin forming between him and the front two riders and Rossi tapping on the back of his YZR-M1, Lorenzo responded by setting his best personal lap of the race thus far with 14 laps remaining, and soon the blue bikes were back in contention for the win. A brief state of grace saw the Yamaha riders running within 0.8s of the race leaders, but towards the end the Michelin tyres dropped, affecting the pace. Unable to challenge the front riders, the current World Champion decided to focus on defending his podium position and brought his bike over the line in third place, 3.389s from first.

Rossi lost a place at the start of the 28-lap race from second on the grid, but was soon moving to re-overtake Dovizioso in turn 6 and fought with Iannone at the end of the lap to lead over the line. What followed was a flurry of activity with Lorenzo joining the fight. The Doctor ran wide on turn 1 with 25 laps to go and dropped to fifth behind Marquez, but it didn’t take him long to move up to fourth place when he set a provisional fastest lap, being the first rider to clock a 1’24s, two laps later.

Back behind his teammate, the Italian made his experience count and bided his time, sticking close to his teammate’s YZR-M1. The two Yamahas were charging to the front two-thirds into the race and piled on the pressure, but as the tyres started to wear they were forced to slightly ease off their pace. Unable to make a move on Lorenzo, the nine-time World Champion decided to harvest some valuable points for the championship, finishing in fourth place 3.815s from the front.

The third place finish keeps Lorenzo in second place in the standings on 138 points, 43 points from first, whilst Rossi remains in third position with 124 points.

Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director

“It has been a positive race, especially if you consider the challenging start we had on Friday. The team has done a great job, though it is a shame our strong pace couldn’t be rewarded by having two riders on the podium after such a strong ride by both of them. Jorge took a good podium result with Valentino not far behind and we finished in front of Marquez with both riders so we made up some important points for the championship. We are looking forward to the next race in Brno in one week’s time where we always have been strong.”

Jorge Lorenzo
3rd / +3.389 / 28 laps, 2nd / 138 points

“Honestly, when you have one or two challenging races like me, finishing in third place is not the same as a victory, but it almost feels the same because our rivals were almost in another world during the test and throughout the weekend, in qualifying and also the second part of the race. To finally finish in third place just three seconds from the winner is a great result and we are very satisfied with the work we did on the bike and the concentration I kept during the race with the rear tyre moving a lot in the last part. I’m very happy and we should keep working, we recovered some points to Marc and it’s important for the championship. Anything can happen, like we saw yesterday. Marc crashed and almost got seriously injured. We need to stay focused and have some luck and wait.”

Valentino Rossi
4th / +3.815 / 28 laps, 3rd / 124 points

“In the end it was a good race because the margin to our rivals in front was not very big. It was a shame that I wasn’t able to fight with Lorenzo. I wanted to try and arrive on the podium, but in the end I wasn’t able to do so and for sure I’m not happy about this, but for the rest it was a good weekend. We were quite competitive at this track, which is not fantastic for Yamaha, and we took some points. Our rhythm in the race was very similar to those who took the victory and we will try to be stronger next week in Brno. For me, personally, Brno is a great track where I won for the first time, but the last few years I wasn’t strong enough so I’m very curious to understand if this year I can be more competitive. About today’s frontrunners, I think they will also be very strong in Brno because they are always fast and the track also has a lot of straights and it’s so fast, so I think we have to keep an eye on them.”

Smith and Espargaro turn around tricky weekend with top ten finishes in Austria

Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Bradley Smith delivered a fully determined performance today at the Austrian Grand Prix to clinch 9th in front of more than 95,000 enthusiastic spectators. The British star leapt forward from the middle of the fifth row of the grid and after navigating his way through the frantic first lap, he crossed the finish line in 11th. Shortly afterwards, Smith slipped back two positions but pushed onwards before moving up to 10th at the halfway point. He sustained his strong rhythm and closed down the gap to Laverty before gliding past him on lap 17 and then comfortably pulling away. The 25-year-old continued to lap at an impressive pace right until the chequered flag and was unlucky to just miss out on the top independent position by three-tenths of a second. Nevertheless, the result marks a positive close to a previously challenging weekend for the British rider.

On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team garage, Pol Espargaro pulled off a positive recovery charge to complete the round 10 fight at the spectacular Spielberg circuit in 10th. The 2013 Moto2 World Champion kicked off his campaign from the fifth row of the grid after a tricky qualifying and concluded the opening lap in 14th. He then upped his pace as he aimed to climb through the field and his strong rhythm saw him rise to 13th with nine laps completed. Next in his sights was Danilo Petrucci who the Spaniard expertly closed down and shot past six laps later. He remained consistent and he continued to push, before overtaking Aleix Espargaro on lap 23, and then Eugene Laverty one lap later. Espargaro then comfortably opened a gap and crossed the finish line one position behind his teammate.

Bradley Smith
9th / +29.785 / 28 laps, 14th / 42 points

“Overall, I have to be happy with the result and we really turned things around today. Having said that, I am also a little bit disappointed because the top satellite position was the aim, especially after the pace that we had in warm-up and I knew that we had a good chance. I was lucky at the beginning of the GP with all the jumps starts around me but I lost a large amount of time on the opening lap and then there were quite a few mistakes by other riders, which cost me. I was pleased that I managed to cut the gap to Laverty and Redding and I believe that I was really strong in the middle part of the Grand Prix. The only issue was that I put a lot of stress on my tyres to close that deficit to those riders. As we weren’t too sure about the fuel consumption, we had to play it safe and slightly dial down some of the power, which meant that I wasn’t able to get close enough to Redding to make a full attack. However, we already knew it would be a challenging weekend, but from where we were on Friday to where we are now, it’s clear to see that we’ve made a big step and I have to say that I’m very proud.”

Pol Espargaro
10th / +37.094 / 28 laps, 8th / 78 points

“It goes without saying that 10th position is a long way from where we want to be but we still have to look at the positive points, especially after a challenging weekend like this. It was the first time this season that we were not as competitive as we should have been, yet we managed to increase the gap to our direct revivals in the Best Independent Rider battle with Barbara and Crutchlow. However, we were not able to completely solve the difficulties that we had to face in the last two days, but still, we went for the best compromise which enabled me to improve my pace unlike in the practice sessions. Fortunately, now we are going straight to Brno, which is a track that suits the Yamaha’s style a lot better and where we have a lot of data from the previous years. Therefore, I am sure that my feeling on the YZR-M1 will once again be as good as it was in Germany.”

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