Viñales Fights Hard for Fourth at MotoGP Grand Prix of Aragón
For the ENEOS-sponsored Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team, the Gran Premio Michelin de Aragón race this weekend held a promise for a strong finish as Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi both put in great effort during the free practice and Q2 sessions before the main race. Viñales started third on the front row while Rossi took sixth on the second row, both riders eager to capture a podium finish.
Although the local hero was nimble in the first three sectors of MotorLand Aragón, Viñales was unable to hold off chasing rivals later in the race. Early on he lost one position to Fabio Quartararo while turning into the first tight left corner. He passed Quartararo on lap 5, then went after Jack Miller to try and take third place, and did it with 16 laps remaining. Unfortunately, Viñales couldn’t hold off Andrea Dovizioso and Miller, finishing the race 5.811-seconds from first.
“Second place was within reach,” said Viñales. “I pushed as hard as I could but my tires were on the limit during the final laps. I nearly crashed a few times because of that, and thought the best I can do is fourth. We were the first Yamaha, which is important, but I simply did not have enough rear grip to have a chance.”
Rossi struggled to cut through the pack during the first few laps, losing positions to Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow and unable to stay in the 1:49s after lap 7 due to rear tire degradation. It resulted in a lonely ride with a 6-second gap to ninth and a growing gap to seventh. He finished eighth with a 23.623-second gap to first.
Rossi said, “I knew it would be difficult to fight for the podium because several riders were faster than me and I had to slow down after some laps. I didn’t have grip; it was some kind of problem with the tires, similar to Silverstone. We’ve been struggling with this, so we wind up damaging the tire more. I can’t say if we could’ve done better on softer tires because they weren’t working for us during practice. In the end, it was a very difficult race.”
Viñales remains fifth in the Championship standings, one place ahead of Rossi, with ten points between them. Yamaha is still third in the manufacturer standings, as is Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP in team classification.
Viñales and Rossi travel to the next round of MotoGP – the PTT Thailand Grand Prix held at the Chang International Circuit on October 4-6.