Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales compete in MotoGP Virtual Race

The ENEOS-sponsored Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP riders, Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi, joined the MotoGP Virtual Race II in the absence of racing during the COVID-19 pandemic. For round two of the e-series, the riders would compete in a ten-lap race at the Red Bull Ring – Spielberg.

Viñales had previously shone in the first MotoGP Virtual Race, held on March29. Despite a collision with Fabio Quartararo in the first corner and another fall towards the end of the race, the Spaniard rode to an impressive third place, attesting to his gaming skills.

Having received tips and training from the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP eRider Lorenzo Daretti (aka Trastevere73 or 73Trast), Viñales was feeling confident and was immediately off to a good start. He qualified in second place, like he had done in the first round, and again enjoyed a good launch off the grid, slotting into third place. Once the Yamaha rider passed Nakagami for second, the fight for the win was between him and Francesco Bagnaia. Viñales took the lead on lap six but struggled to keep Bagnaia at bay. A small mistake ultimately cost him the front position but he was able to quickly resume his fight with Bagnaia. It went down to the wire, but ultimately Viñales finished second, 0.074sec from first (after penalties from Race Direction). He also managed to set the best lap time, 0.603sec faster than everyone else.

“I finished third in the first MotoGP Virtual Race and now have a second place. These are good results, although I really wanted to win today!” Viñales told us. I qualified in second and things were going well but the riding level at the front is quite high, so you need to push hard. Especially Pecco Bagnaia, who is really good at MotoGP eSport. I tried hard to break away from him when I was leading the race, but I made a small mistake and crashed. Thankfully, you’re able to get up quickly and I was able to fight with Pecco again, but in the end it wasn’t enough to win.”

You can watch highlights from Viñales’ race here:

Valentino Rossi was a new entry to the MotoGP Virtual Race challenge, to the delight of fans around the world. Not normally an active MotoGP eSport gamer, the Italian had trained beforehand, aiming to make his fans proud and entertaining them. Naturally, The Doctor didn‘t have the same experience as many of the riders but he steadily familiarized himself with MotoGP eSport during qualifying, although he had to start from the back of the grid, in 10th place.

As with Race I, there was lots of damage in the first corners of Race II. The #46 Yamaha was one of the bikes that went down but would emerge from the chaos fighting for eighth position. Despite another crash, Rossi kept pushing all the way, refusing to give up, and his determination paid off. As other riders suffered falls, he climbed up the order and found himself in sixth place. On the last lap he had a close battle with Danilo Petrucci, who ran wide in the very last corner, leaving enough space for the Yamaha man to dive up the inside. However, their wheels touched and in a dramatic climax, The Doctor went down right before the finish line. However, he was still awarded a respectable seventh place for his first Virtual Race.

“Having a MotoGP Race on the PlayStation was really strange!” Valentino said. “It was a new experience for me, and while I like playing online with friends, I’m more competitive with four-wheel games. However, I had a lot of fun and hope all the MotoGP fans had a good time. We need to continue to respect the quarantine rules and stay at home so we can go back to ’normal life‘ as soon as possible. I look forward to seeing the fans next time I do a virtual race!”

You can watch highlights from Rossi’s race here:

1. Francesco Bagnaia
(ITA) – Ducati
13:47.091 1:21.746
2. Maverick Viñales
(SPA) – Yamaha
+0.074 1:21.114
3. Alex Marquez
(SPA) – Honda
+9.762 1:21.877
4. Marc Marquez (SPA) – Honda +12.572 1:22.015
5. Fabio Quartararo (FRA) – Yamaha +35.418 1:22.351
6. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) – Ducati NC 1:23.584
7. Valentino Rossi (ITA) – Yamaha NC 1:23.820
8. Takaaki Nakagami (JPN) – Honda NC 1:22:986
9. Michele Pirro
(ITA) – Ducati
NC 1:24.221
10. Tito Rabat
(SPA) – Ducati
NC 1:23.821