Viñales Makes Strong Second Place Finish at 2020 Spanish MotoGP

It’s been a moment the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team had been eagerly awaiting: the return of the 2020 MotoGP season, and what a way to start it off right — with ENEOS-sponsored rider Maverick Viñales collecting his first 20 championship points, thanks to a strong second place performance at the Gran Premio de España, held at Circuito de Jerez-Ángel Nieto on July 19, 2020.

Viñales started big in P2 on the grid, taking the holeshot at the start after switching to a new launch control system. He then led the race in the crucial opening stages, thanks to taking a gamble with a soft front tire. He skillfully kept the YZR-M1 in check, pushed hard and completed the first lap of 2020 as the race leader.

Lap 3 is when Viñales and Marc Marquez began the battle for P1, a moment MotoGP fans had been craving. Viñales fought back after Marquez passed him, with the Honda rider going wide in Turn 4 and off-track, allowing Yamaha to back into the lead. The reigning champion displayed incredible skill, saving his bike from an almost certain crash and managing to return to the track after running through the gravel.

Tire degradation from his soft front slowed Viñales and he dipped to third place on lap 8, but he was able to regroup and make a comeback.

With seven laps remaining, Viñales put the pressure on Jack Miller to regain second place at Lorenzo’s corner as Marquez had ridden through the entire field and was back on the Yamaha rider’s tail. The two were set for another head-to-head match, but tragically Marquez suffered a bad accident while exiting Turn 3. With the rider taken to hospital with a broken arm, Viñales crossed the finish line second behind Yamaha-mounted Fabio Quartararo.

“I’m very happy with the start and first laps because I was right there at the front,” said an excited Viñales. “I took the lead and tried to escape. I’m eager to work on next steps because if we can do a good job, we can be fighting at the front again, and we’ll use this experience to improve ourselves as always. I hope Marc [Marquez] is doing well because it was a nasty crash, and I hope to fight again at the next race. Congratulations to Fabio [Quartararo] as well; it’s not easy to win your first MotoGP race — you controlled it well!”

Teammate and fellow ENEOS-sponsored rider Valentino Rossi had a disappointing race day. He started decently from ninth but lost position at the first corners and crossed the start-finish line for the first time in tenth place. The Doctor never gives up, though — he regained two positions, but a technical issue took him out of competition early.

“It was a tough weekend because we suffered with the rear tire in the high temperatures,” said Rossi. “I wasn’t fast from the beginning and lost rhythm with the group fighting for the podium. My rear tire lost grip and performance, and later I had a problem with the bike that forced me to retire.”