Catalan MotoGP Ends in Disappointment for Valentino Rossi and Vinales
Barcelona (Spain), 16th June 2019
GRAND PRIX OF CATALUNYA
The ENEOS-sponsored Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP riders, Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales, were in the hunt for glory at the start of the 24-lap Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya. They were looking for a way through in the top-five group when they both became collateral damage in a racing incident.
Both Rossi and Viñales retired from promising fifth and third places respectively at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya due to a multiple rider collision. The team-mates were uninjured, but the incident ended their Catalunya challenge with a double DNF.
Rossi started from fourth on the grid and found himself in fifth place through the first corners, before getting into a battle with Jorge Lorenzo and Danilo Petrucci. He was briefly in seventh position, but the Italian is known for not going down without a fight. He was back up to fifth a little more than halfway through the second lap, when disaster struck in Turn 10.
The Doctor reacted quickly in an effort to avoid a multiple-rider incident, but he was still clipped by the sliding bike of Lorenzo, causing him to crash. He rode his bike back to the team garage but was forced to retire from the race.
“This was a great shame, because we had a good weekend,” said Rossi. “We worked well during the practice sessions and also made a good tire choice for the race. I felt really comfortable on the bike and had a good pace in the morning, and it looked like this afternoon was going to be even better. I was very optimistic, but unfortunately in the corner I tried to overtake Petrucci I arrived a bit fast. At the same moment, the crash happened in front of me, so I couldn’t avoid Jorge’s bike and crashed. It’s a great shame because I could have had a good race. On the positive side, it was a better weekend, compared to Mugello. I was competitive and enjoyed it a lot more, so we will start again from this point.”
Following Saturday‘s Race Direction penalty, Viñales had to start from P6. He used the setback as extra motivation. The hometown hero had a brilliant launch, arriving at the first corner in sixth place, but cunningly moved up to fourth as he flicked his bike left and right in Turn 2 and 3.
He rode an aggressive opening lap to cross the finish line the first time in second place but had to let Marc Marquez pass at the start of lap 2. The Yamaha rider was looking to retaliate, but his race ended prematurely when he was taken out by one of the bikes involved in a collision of two other riders in Turn 10.
“I saw someone coming very fast on the inside, and I tried to pick up the bike to avoid a crash.” Viñales said. “Dovi was in front of me and I thought only they would crash, but unfortunately they touched my rear tire and I crashed. I couldn’t avoid it and I’m really disappointed, but on the other hand I’m really happy – we’ve made a good start and did some good first laps. We had prepared the bike really well with the full fuel tank, so the method we tried this weekend was working. We’re going to try to reproduce our work in Assen and see if we get the same result, because we saw on the first lap that I was able to get to the front and push, and that was the most important thing for me. Who knows what would have happened if I could have followed Marc? The bike was working well and the team was doing an excellent job this weekend, so we need to keep working like this.”
Today’s unlucky double DNF means Rossi stays in fifth position in the championship standings with a 68-point gap to first, whereas Viñales moves down from eighth to eleventh in the rankings, with a 100-point margin to the top. Yamaha is now third in the constructor standings, gaining a place, while Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP drops one position to fourth in the team classification.
The team will be back at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Monday for a one-day IRTA test, preparing for the Assen TT round in the Netherlands in two weeks’ time.