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Rossi Clinches Second Place at Circuit of The Americas Race

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi secured a superb second place at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA). Teammate Maverick Viñales was on the move in the early stages, but a slide down the track in lap 2 prevented him from completing the race.

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi showed an impressive pace in the Grand Prix of The Americas to claim his third consecutive podium finish of the season. Teammate Maverick Viñales was looking confident, but his race ended prematurely 20 laps before the end.

Rossi was strong out of the gates and settled into third position exiting the first corner. He chased Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa in the opening laps, careful not to let them clear off into the distance.

With 15 laps to go the Italian went wide in the first corner and got into a scrap with Johann Zarco. After a touch between the two Yamaha riders in turn 4, the Doctor was pushed wide, but he quickly rejoined the track and held on to third position.

As the front runners quarrelled over the next few laps, Rossi took the opportunity with both hands to close the gap. He reached Pedrosa with five laps to go and bided his time. Two laps later, his carefully planned overtake came in the last corner. The nine-time World Champion then put his head down. He was on the limit for the last two laps to take the flag +3.069s behind the leader, securing second place despite being penalised with 0.3s at the end of the race, due to the incident with Zarco.

Viñales had a busy first lap. Starting from second place on the grid he got off the line well, but found himself in fifth place after all 22 riders had squeezed through the first corner. He soon overtook Jorge Lorenzo for fourth and was eager to remain on the tail of his teammate on their way to the front, but his challenge was cut short by a crash in turn 16 one lap later. The Spanish youngster was left unhurt, but unable to continue the race.

Today’s results see Rossi take over the lead in the championship standings with 56 points, 6 points ahead of Viñales in second place. In the Constructor’s Championship, Yamaha still holds the lead with a 16-point margin, while the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team stays on top in the Team’s Championship standings, 41 points ahead of its closest rival.

The Yamaha Factory Racing Team will next cross the Atlantic Ocean for the Gran Premio de España at the Circuito de Jerez in two weeks’ time.

Valentino Rossi – 2nd +3.069s

It was a great surprise for me and for the team because we were struggling very much with the new bike, especially during the winter. I think we need more time to understand the setting and the way to ride it, but at the end this bike is very good, especially in the race and with the used tyres. I’m so happy, because today I wasn’t so far from the front and it’s also the best result of my career at this track, so it’s good. When I saw Viñales out I started to think I’m on top of the championship standings. I felt good and I also saw Dani having some problems, especially on the right, so I said “maybe those four points are important and in fact it was like that. For me the penalty wasn’t right. The problem is we either do it like this, or we crash together at a very dangerous point. But for me, though accepting Race Direction’s decision, the mistake was made by Zarco.

Maverick Viñales – DNF

It was a really strange crash. I did exactly the same as in Warm Up and all weekend, but I crashed. I think we had some issues with the front tyre, but anyway, we know that we are strong and that we have the speed. We can be strong again, so I’m going to try to forget this crash and come to Jerez even faster, stronger and more consistent than I was here.

Massimo Meregalli

Overall it’s been a mixed day for us. Valentino did a fantastic job to take a very important second place. His start was good and played a vital role. He positioned his YZR-M1 exactly right and this allowed him to chase the leading duo. It was inevitable for him to go onto the run-off area after the incident with Zarco, but Vale’s experience shone through again. He was quick to get his head down and at the end we get to celebrate a strong second place, even after the questionable 0.3s penalty. It was very unfortunate that Maverick’s race ended early because, judging by the pace he displayed all weekend, he would certainly have been able to challenge for the victory. We have checked the data and there’s nothing strange or different from what he has done since Friday. The front closed without any warning and he could not do anything to save it. It’s a great pity because he was really confident on the bike, so we take that away from this race weekend as a positive. We’re certain he will come back strong in Spain in two weeks’ time.

Zarco stars under the Texan sun to seal 5th – Folger perseveres to scoop 11th

Johann Zarco continued his dazzling form aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1 in his third race in the premier class to finish 5th at the Circuit of The Americas today. The French rider leapt forward from the middle of the second row of the grid and quickly stuck into a formidable rhythm as he battled against the vastly experienced Grand Prix winners at the front of the field. Eventually, Zarco powered across the finish line in 5th with the result moving him to 7th in the standings. Meanwhile, Jonas Folger fought relentlessly in the gruelling 21 lap sprint in Austin, Texas to seize 11th and seal another solid point scoring result. The young German fully intends to break back into the top ten at the next round in Spain at the Circuito de Jerez in a fortnight.

Johann Zarco – 5th,
Monster Energy Tech3 Yamaha

“I am really happy with the result but the start of the race was tricky and it was not easy to get into a good position at the first turn. However, I felt great on my Yamaha so I started attacking from the third corner, and I was quickly able to overtake my opponents and get into 5th. I wanted to follow the top group so I pushed to stay close to Valentino and I was able to fight with him, which was fantastic. We came very close at one point because I had a bit more speed than him in the third corner, and maybe it was a bit too tight but fortunately, nothing serious happened and he went on to finish second. I really didn’t want to cause a problem for Vale and I know that I can learn a lot from him so luckily, we both recovered. After this, I continued to do my best and at the end of the sprint, Crutchlow was slightly faster, but nevertheless, 5th is just awesome and I am pleased because the podium was close today.”

Jonas Folger – 11th

“It was a tough race and I did my best, but I’m a little bit disappointed, to be honest. However, there are always positives and today, we were just 18 seconds back from the top, plus six seconds behind Dovizioso who finished 6th which is good. Having said that, I made some mistakes in the GP, especially when the bike started to get lighter due to the decreasing fuel load. I was not able to adapt as well as I did in the last GP, and that’s when I lost some positions. Now we have to analyse everything and see how we can move forward. We learnt a lot again this weekend but I have to be able to set the bike up better in the practices and be stronger in the fight. I have scored points in all three races so far, and this is pleasing, but once you reach a certain position, your goals get higher and I aim to make a step up. We know what we can do and we realize that 6th could have been ours if we worked more effectively in the practice. Anyway, I will focus now on the next round in Jerez where I am sure that I can finish in a stronger position.”

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