Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi raised the bar today at the Bugatti Circuit in Le Mans. He started the race from the third row of the grid and fought his way up to ultimately take a strong 3rd place finish. Maverick Viñales made up for a difficult start to the Grand Prix de France, riding from 13th to 7th position.
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3rd | VALENTINO ROSSI
+5.350 / 27 LAPS
7th | MAVERICK VIÑALES
+23.758 / 27 LAPS
Grand Prix of France
Le Mans, France, 20th May 2018
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Valentino Rossi showed once again you should never count him out for the race, regardless of his starting position. He displayed a competitive pace aboard his YZR-M1 throughout today’s entire Grand Prix de France, to take a strong third place on the podium. Maverick Viñales scored solid points with a seventh position result at the end of a challenging weekend and took over second place in the championship standings.
Rossi had a brilliant start, rushing from ninth to sixth place in the first corners. An early faller moved the Italian up another spot as he settled into the leading group. He subsequently lost a place to Danilo Petrucci, but moved back up to fifth when Andrea Dovizioso crashed out of the lead.
Johann Zarco also fell victim to a lack of grip, allowing Rossi up to fourth. The Doctor could smell a podium result and picked up the pace, soon taking third position from Jorge Lorenzo. He set a provisional fastest race lap of 1‘31.426s with 13 laps to go, eager to close the gap to Petrucci and kick off a fight for second place, but the Yamaha-rider wasn‘t able to get close enough. He crossed the line in third place, 5.350s from the front.
Viñales struggled to match the pace at the start of the 27 lap race. He was in 11th place after the first sector, but was eager to keep up with the front-runners. He briefly moved up to ninth when a lack of grip cost him four positions. He had his work cut out for him, riding in 13th, but the Spaniard is no slouch. He gradually started to pick up places and snatched ninth as he became more daring on the soft front and rear tyre.
On a second wind, he started to consistently clock 1‘33s-low times to reel in Alex Rins. On lap 19 and 20 he swiftly moved past him as well as Aleix Espargaró for seventh place, thus fuelling his motivation to keep fighting. He put in a personal best lap of 1‘32.871s with two laps to go, but the margin to Lorenzo was too big to bridge. The young gun took the chequered flag 23.758s after the race leader but earned some valuable championship points.
“Since yesterday, we‘ve worked well. I was feeling quite pessimistic after qualifying, but we made two or three modifications to the balance of the bike that gave me more grip and also made me lose less in acceleration. Already this morning in the warm up I was not so bad, so I thought “I can do a good race”, but starting from the third row is always difficult. You have to stay concentrated, but I had a great start and right from the first lap I was able to overtake. I was in the right group. The other positive thing was that after that lap I was fast, I did good lap times and I had a good pace, this is very important. I hope that we can continue to work strongly, like we did today, to further improve the bike. “
“This was not the race I hoped for when I arrived here in Le Mans. It took me quite some time to get past a few rivals and when I arrived in seventh place the gap to the riders in front of me was too big. It’s disappointing that I couldn’t fight at the front today, and this is something we need to keep working on, but I did move up to second in the championship standings. This means we need to stay focused and keep working hard, starting at the test in Montmeló. I can’t wait to go there so we can try to make another step before the next GP.”
“Today’s podium is important and encouraging for the team. Valentino really deserved the third place he earned today, because he never gave up throughout this weekend. He used all his experience and his resilience to prepare for this race and once again proved his pedigree, especially considering the set-back of yesterday’s qualifying. Maverick had a difficult start and he needed a lot of time to overtake the riders in front of him. By the time he had a clear track he was able to ride good lap times, but by then the gap to the front was already too big. On a positive note, he did take over second place in the championship standings, but it’s mainly Vale’s podium result, at a track that caught out many riders today, that gives the team a boost for the next GP. However, first we’ll be testing at Montmeló, to try the resurfaced track, and this will give us some further time to work on the bikes’ balance.”
[title size=”3″ content_align=”left” style_type=”single solid” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]Schedule & Standings[/title]
Viñales’ seventh place moves him up to second position in the championship standings with 59 points, 3 points ahead of teammate Rossi, who climbed up to fourth position. The solid results keep Yamaha in second place in the Constructor Championship with a 28-point margin to first, while the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team dropped to second position in the team standings and now have a 9-point gap to the top.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP will be back in action in two weeks‘ time at the team‘s and Rossi‘s home Grand Prix, the Gran Premio d‘Italia Oakley, held at the Autodromo del Mugello from June 1st – 3rd.
|Mar 16||Grand Prix of Qatar||Losail International Circuit||Qatar|| 3rd
|Apr 8||Grand Prix of Argentina
||Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo||Argentina|| 19th
|Apr 22||Grand Prix of the Americas
||Circuit of the Americas||Austin, TX|| 4th
|May 6||Grand Prix of Spain
||Circuido de Jerez||Jerez de la Frontera, Spain||5th
|May 20||Grand Prix of France||Circuit de ls Sarthe||Le Mans, France||3rd
|Jun 3||Grand Prix of Italy
||Autodromo del Mugello||Mugello, Italy|
|Jun 17||Grand Prix of Catalunya
||Circuit de Catalunya||Montmeló, Spain|
|Jul 1||Grand Prix of the Netherlands
||Circuit de ls Sarthe||Assen, Netherlands|
|Jul 13||Grand Prix of Germany
|Aug 5||Grand Prix of Czech Republic
||Automodrom Brno||Brno, Czech Republic|
|Aug 12||Grand Prix of Austria||Red Bull Ring||Spielberg, Austria|
|Aug 26||Grand Prix of Great Britain
||Silverstone Circuit||Towcester, Great Britain|
|Sep 9||Grand Prix of San Marino
||Misano World Circuit||Misano Adriatico, Italy|
|Sep 23||Grand Prix of Aragón
||Motorland Aragón||Alcañiz, Spain|
|Oct 7||Grand Prix of Thailand||Chang International Circuit||Isan, Thailand|
|Oct 21||Grand Prix of Japan
||Twin Ring Motegi||Tochigi, Japan|
|Oct 28||Grand Prix of Australia
||Phillip Island Circuit||Phillip Island Victoria, Australia|
|Nov 4||Grand Prix of Malaysia
||Sepang International Circuit||Selangor, Malaysia|
|Nov 18||Grand Prix of Valencia
||Ricardo Tormo Valencia||Cheste, Spain|