Rossi Lands Eighth at Challenging Australian MotoGP
Although weather conditions delayed qualifying slightly, the ENEOS-sponsored Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP riders, Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi, looked extremely strong after securing a first and fourth place start (respectively) on the grid for the main race held at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit on October 27, 2019. Rossi launched hard but was unable to maintain the pace required to stay with the lead pack, finishing eighth place. Vinales proved his strength, leading for 16 laps but a high-speed crash took him out on the final lap, and while uninjured, was unable to complete the race.
For his 400th Grand Prix start, Rossi overtook the lead riders as he went around them on the outside while turning into the first corner. He had over 0.6-seconds of a gap after the second sector but couldn’t maintain it, and once the field caught up, he gradually fell to eighth. Halfway through the race, the Doctor pushed up to fourth again and fought in group battles for the second half of the race before crossing the finish line 15.841-seconds from first, good for eighth position.
“It was a great start and a very good way to celebrate my 400th Grand Prix,” says Rossi. “It was nice to be in front for a bit and I was much more competitive compared to last weekend. A hard battle at Phillip Island, but we need to become stronger.”
Although Vinales started from the pole position, the field caught up to him quickly by the first corner, pushing him down to sixth. He had to fight against several riders, including his teammate, before he hit the lead again on lap 10. He held firm until the start of the very last lap, but was forced to let Marc Marquez pass on the long straight before going into Turn 1. Vinales planned to retake the lead at the Turn 10 hairpin but wound up crashing.
“I was ready to go in without braking to see what would happen, but I locked the rear,” Vinales said. “I wanted to win, not to be second. I had the chance, so I tried. I crashed but I was satisfied. I gave my best on every lap and the bike was working really well.”
Vinales remains fourth place in the championship standings, only 7 points behind third. Rossie holds seventh, 23 points behind Vinales. Yamaha remains third in the manufacturer standings while Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP stays third in team classification.
Rossi and Vinales head to Sepang International Circuit for the Malaysia Motorcyle Grand Prix, taking place November 1st-3rd.