MotoGP: Yamaha’s Perseverance in Motegi Pays Off with Championship Points

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi was chasing the front-runners at the Motul Grand Prix of Japan, but came just short of being able to join the battle. He finished the race in fourth position. Teammate Maverick Viñales needed time to get up to speed. His charge came late, but he still managed to climb up from eleventh to seventh place over the course of the race.

+6.413 / 24 LAPS

+13.330 / 24 LAPS
Grand Prix of Japan
Motegi, Japan – 21st October 2018

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi showed his fighting spirit today at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit. It earned him fourth place and valuable championship points, putting him in close contention for the battle for second in the championship standings. Teammate Maverick Viñales had a challenging start to the Motul Grand Prix of Japan, but with his typical determination took seventh position, so he can continue to fight for second and third place in the final three rounds of the 2018 MotoGP World Championship.

Rossi had a great start from ninth on the grid and soon wrestled himself to fifth place on the first lap. He continued to fight with Álex Rins for the position and made his pass stick at the end of lap 2, eager not to let the four front-runners get away. The Italian set a provisional fastest lap, a 1’46.052s, to cut the over 1s margin in half. Just one lap later he arrived at the back of the leading group. Wasting no time, he made a block pass on Jack Miller in turn 11, with 20 laps to go, to take over fourth place. He now had to close a 0.6s gap to stay within podium contention but couldn’t make strides.

Unable to drop under the 1’46 mark, he had to let the chasing Suzuki’s pass him on lap 10 and 11. When Andrea Iannone crashed on lap 15, the number 46 moved up to fifth place again, but the gap to Rins was now over two seconds, so the Doctor focused on the men behind him instead. Johann Zarco and Álvaro Bautista were on the move in the final five laps. However, the battle amongst the two bought the Yamaha rider time, which he used to perfection. As Andrea Dovizioso crashed on the penultimate lap, the nine-time World Champion crossed the line in fourth place, 6.413s from first.

Viñales didn’t have the start he had hoped for and needed a little time to get into the groove. He began the race as seventh on the grid but was pushed back to tenth in the busy first corners. Lapping in the mid-1’46s, the Spaniard was unable to keep a charging Bautista at bay but gained a position as Jack Miller crashed on lap 11. He moved up another place when Iannone fell four laps later and used this as his cue to up the pace.
The youngster dropped into the low 1’46s just when the riders in front of him started to struggle a little. He launched his first attack on Dani Pedrosa on lap 19, but it didn’t last. A lap later he made it stick and put his head down. He knew that closing the over 2s margin to Bautista and Zarco would be a tall order and instead made it his priority to win some championship points. After Dovizioso went down, the number 25 rider took seventh place at the chequered flag, 13.330s from the race winner.

Yamalube Yamaha Factory Racing Team wild card rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga made his experience count in Motegi today. He rode a confident race, securing a strong 14th place aboard his YZR-M1, finishing 32.550s from first. This achievement earns him two championship points and puts him in 24th place, ahead of seven other riders.

Valentino Rossi
“Fourth place is not a bad result. I think that we’ve worked well today, because this morning we made another step and I felt better with the bike. So, I started the race quite optimistically, trying to fight for the podium. Unfortunately some other riders were faster than me. I tried to not give up, not to make any mistakes and to arrive at the end of the race with a good pace.”

Maverick Viñales
“We shuffled a lot with the settings of the bike, but we couldn’t be fast in today’s race. We tried something different before the race, but it didn’t really work. We followed a direction we used in Buriram to see if that would work, but in the end it wasn’t like that. I couldn’t ride like I wanted to, so we need to keep working and trying to stay focused on the way we manage the race weekend, and stay strong. We are going to try to do our best again on Phillip Island, and we’ll try to see where we stand.”

Massimo Meregalli

Team Director

“First of all, I would like to congratulate Marc Márquez and the Repsol Honda Team. For us it was a challenging race weekend. Valentino made a step in the morning and started the race perfectly. He was feeling good with the bike and was positioned at the front in the early stages, but he came just short of being able to battle with the front runners. For Maverick we decided to take a risk on the set-up that ultimately didn’t pay off. We had hoped to end today differently. However, Vale and Maverick are still serious contenders for second and third place in the rider standings, so we still have a lot to fight for next weekend in Australia.”
Schedule & Standings

Today’s results see Rossi hold third position in the championship standings with just a 9-point gap to second. Viñales remains in fourth place with a 30-point gap to his teammate. Yamaha holds third place in the Constructor Championship after the race in Japan, with a 100-point margin to first, while the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Teamhave reclaimed second position in the team standings with a 51-point gap to first.
Yamaha extend their congratulations to Marc Márquez of the Repsol Honda Team on taking the 2018 MotoGP World Championship Title.
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team will be back in action at the Phillip Island circuit next weekend for the Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, held from October 26th – 28th.


Valentino Rossi - Maverick Viñales | Yamaha MotoGP | Grand Prix of France 21st May 2017

2018 Schedule
Date Race Venue Location Rossi Viñales Team
Mar 16 Grand Prix of Qatar Losail International Circuit Qatar  3rd
16 pts
10 pts 
26 pts
Apr 8 Grand Prix of Argentina
Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo Argentina   19th
16 pts
21 pts
37 pts
Apr 22 Grand Prix of the Americas
Circuit of the Americas Austin, TX  4th
29 pts
41 pts
70 pts
May 6 Grand Prix of Spain
Circuido de Jerez Jerez de la Frontera, Spain 5th
40 pts 
50 pts
90 pts
May 20 Grand Prix of France Circuit de ls Sarthe Le Mans, France 3rd
56 pts
59 pts
115 pts
Jun 3 Grand Prix of Italy
Autodromo del Mugello Mugello, Italy 3rd
72 pts
67 pts
139 pts
Jun 17 Grand Prix of Catalunya
Circuit de Catalunya Montmeló, Spain 3rd
88 pts
77 pts
165 pts
Jul 1 Grand Prix of the Netherlands
Circuit de ls Sarthe Assen, Netherlands 5th
99 pts
93 pts
192 pts
Jul 13 Grand Prix of Germany
Sachsenring Saxon, Germany 2nd
119 pts
109 pts
228 pts
Aug 5 Grand Prix of Czech Republic
Automodrom Brno Brno, Czech Republic 4th
132 pts
109 pts
241 pts
Aug 12 Grand Prix of Austria Red Bull Ring Spielberg, Austria 6th
142 pts
113 pts
255 pts
Aug 26 Grand Prix of Great Britain Cancelled, weather
Silverstone Circuit  Towcester, Great Britain n/a n/a n/a
Sep 9 Grand Prix of San Marino
Misano World Circuit Misano Adriatico, Italy 7th
151 pts
124 pts
275 pts
Sep 23 Grand Prix of Aragón
Motorland Aragón Alcañiz, Spain 8th
159 pts
130 pts
289 pts
Oct 7 Grand Prix of Thailand Chang International Circuit Isan, Thailand 4th
172 pts
146 pts
318 pts
Oct 21 Grand Prix of Japan
Twin Ring Motegi Tochigi, Japan 4th
185 pts
155 pts
340 pts
Oct 28 Grand Prix of Australia
Phillip Island Circuit Phillip Island Victoria, Australia
Nov 4 Grand Prix of Malaysia
Sepang International Circuit Selangor, Malaysia  
Nov 18 Grand Prix of Valencia
Ricardo Tormo Valencia Cheste, Spain    

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