Second Place For Viñales at MotoGP Sachsenring
Much like the MotoGP Assen TT race a week prior, the ENEOS-sponsored Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team experienced its share of highs and lows at the German Sachsenring round. Maverick Viñales kept his cool throughout the entire race, securing a second place finish while Valentino Rossi had difficulty finding his stride, battling for fourth position most of the time, but finishing eighth.
With a good start from third, Viñales slid into second in the first corner, and went hard to ensure he stuck closely to leader Marc Marquez (the eventual winner). Although Álex Rins passed Viñales on lap four, Viñales guarded his position so as not to lose any valuable time.
Unable to keep up with Marquez’s low 1:21sec lap pace, Viñales instead shifted focus to keeping Cal Crutchlow from stealing second place from him, a battle that began once Rins crashed out on lap 19 and lasted half the race. Viñales kept his cool under pressure for 15 laps, and consistent riding on his YZR-M1 gave him the advantage he needed to take down Crutchlow on the final lap, crossing the finish line a mere 4.587sec behind Marquez.
“We discovered quite early this weekend that second place might be the best we could do here, so we achieved the objective,” Viñales explained. “For us, it’s really good; second is my best result here, and it prepares me for Brno. With the summer break approaching we can improve the bike as I work on improving myself. I can’t wait for Brno to try out new things and see if we take another step forward.”
On the flipside, teammate Rossi had it rough at Sachsenring, starting 11th on the grid and dropping down a position within the first few corners. However, early crashes in the opening laps allowed him to move up to ninth, where he held his position against seven riders battling for fifth, but simply wasn’t able to get where he wanted.
With 14 laps left in the race, Rossi reluctantly let Joan Mir pass but was able to reached ninth after the Rins crash. During the final stages of the race, Rossi managed to overtake Franco Morbidelli with nine laps and severely worn tires, and tried fighting for fourth. A mistake made with four remaining laps cost him time and he finished eighth, 19.110sec from first.
“This was a difficult race, so I’m not satisfied,” a disappointed Rossi said. “By using a medium rear tire there was a lot of sliding and not enough grip. I felt strong in Assen but in reality I wasn’t very fast and didn’t feel good with the bike. This is a difficult moment because the last time we were here, at this part of the championship, I was very competitive. This time it’s been more difficult, so we need to get a better understanding of why because I’m not going as fast as we want.”
The Sachsenring results pushes Viñales into fifth in the championship, one position ahead of Rossi. Yamaha remains third in the constructor standings, and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP continues to be in third in the team classification.
Both Viñales and Rossi get to enjoy a three-week summer break before starting the second half of the MotoGP World Championship. The next race is Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky, taking place at Automotodrom Brno on August 2-4.