Viñales Secures Fourth Place and Valuable Championship Points at MotoGP Japan
For the Japanese round of the MotoGP tour, the ENEOS-sponsored duo representing Team Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP came ready to fight at Twin Ring Motegi. Although a podium was within his grasp, Maverick Viñales ultimately finished fourth while teammate Valentino Rossi crashed during the last four laps, robbing him of a promising top 10 finish.
Starting fourth on the grid, Viñales held his position through the first turn, then lost two places on the next corner, completing lap 1 in seventh but staying tight with the leaders of the pack. After moving up to sixth on lap 3, he overtook Jack Miller and Franco Morbidelli, but wasn’t able to go any further, finishing 2.608-seconds from first.
“This was a very positive race,” Viñales said. “I found a good rhythm on the last laps, made the most of our bike, but we’ll try to do more in Australia. It’s time to work harder and be on the podium again for Phillip Island.”
Meanwhile, Rossi had a difficult start to the race, coming off 10th place on the grid he completed lap 1 in 14th place. Slowly but surely he gained positions, passing Pol Espargaro on lap 8 for 11th place, with only a 2.8-second gap from the top 10. He was close to Danilo Petrucci when the small crash happened on lap 21, ending his race weekend.
“I had a bad start, then got stuck in the middle of the chaos and lost time,” Rossi explained. “My pace wasn’t good enough for me to gain positions quickly. Everyone was fast, so it was very difficult to challenge from behind.”
Viñales continues to hold fourth in the championship standings, equalling the points of third place. Rossi is now in seventh, 31 points behind his teammate. Yamaha is still third for the manufacturer standings, and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP is also third for team classification.
Viñales and Rossi head to the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, taking place this weekend, October 25-27 at Phillip Island Circuit.