Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales showed their grit during today's blistering hot Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón. Pushing to the limit in the 23-lap race at the MotorLand Aragón track, they made up various places and secured eighth and tenth place respectively.
Rossi had a good start from 17th position, avoiding any drama and contact in the busy rider pack as they all flicked it left. He crossed the line at the end of the first lap in 12th place and soon gained another place as he overtook Takaaki Nakagami. Two laps later the Italian made further strides, moving up two positions when he passed Johann Zarco, whilst Cal Crutchlow took a fall.
After the eventful opening laps, a lonely ride began for the Doctor. He was holding ninth place and steadily closed in on the rider in front of him. Not one to give up easily, he kept his head down. Two laps before the end he overtook Miller for eighth place and held on to that position until he took the chequered flag, 15.199s from first.
Viñales struggled at the start of the race, dropping back from 14th place to 19th after the first corners, but after a couple of laps the local hero began his advance through the rider field. After Álvaro Bautista and Crutchlow had crashed out, he engaged in a battle with Hafizh Syahrin for 14th place. The Factory man muscled his way past his fellow Yamaha rider and then quickly closed the gap to a group fighting for tenth place.
The Spaniard pounced as soon as he could, passing Zarco and Franco Morbidelli for twelfth. With 10 laps to go he also picked off Nakagami and Bradley Smith, breaching into the top-10. Next on his list was his teammate, Rossi, riding almost 6s ahead. With clear track in front of him, the youngster pushed out various personal best sectors but wasn't able to close the gap to ninth and finished in tenth place, 22.457s from the front.
Today's results see Rossi hold third position in the championship standings with an 87-point margin to first and a 15-point gap to second. Viñales equals Lorenzo's point score but remains in fifth place with 130 points and a 29-point gap to his teammate. Yamaha holds third place in the Constructor Championship after the race in Aragon, with a 79-point margin to first, while the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team are also in third position in the team standings with a 44-point gap to first.The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team will be back in action at the Chang International Circuit in two weeks' time for the PTT Thailand Grand Prix, held from October 5th - 7th.
Valentino Rossi - Position: 8th - Championship: 3rd - Points: 159"Today we also modified the bike a lot, we tried working in another way. Already from this morning I tried to feel a little bit better, so my feeling with the bike improved and we could make some adjustments for the race. The end of the race was better than what I expected, because I wasn't particularly fast, but my pace was consistent. I was able to recover a lot of positions - because I started from the back of the grid - to take some points for the championship. From one point of view, it's better than it was yesterday, but from another, our technical situation is quite difficult, because we have to fight to the maximum to be inside the top-10 at the moment."
Maverick Viñales - Position: 10th - Championship: 5th - Points: 130
"I'm disappointed about how things are going. I'll just go home, try to relax, and start thinking about the next race. The rhythm wasn't there, though we had it in FP4 - on the same tyres we were doing 1'48s, but in the race it wasn't possible. I didn't feel great at the Buriram track in pre-season testing, but I'll try my best, as always, and take the maximum result."
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - Team Director"We had a very difficult race weekend. To finish just inside the top-10 isn't a great result, but it's what was within our reach considering our starting positions. Vale and Maverick finalised their set-ups in the morning warm-up and found some small improvements. It's only natural that both our riders lost time in the first stages of the race, trying to make their way to the front, but they did the maximum they could today and kept fighting. This tough weekend is done, so now we'll focus on preparing for the next race, using the data we collected at the pre-season Buriram test."
Tough Aragón Grand Prix for Determined Zarco and Syahrin
Today's 14th round of the 2018 MotoGP World Championship season turns out a hard challenge for Monster Yamaha Tech3 's Johann Zarco and Hafizh Syahrin, who both grit their teeth during the 23 laps race in order to limit the affects as good as possible.
French star Zarco came off the line very well making up three positions on the first lap but was fighting very hard after the first third of the race to at least bring home two points. With five rounds to go, the Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider lies seven points behind his contenders in the fight for the best independent rider of the Championship. Meanwhile Syahrin showed an equally strong performance in the beginning of the race before struggling to keep his pace and eventually ending up in P18. The MotoGP newcomer aims to make up seven points now in order to equal Franco Morbidelli in the Rookies of the Year competition.Johann Zarco - Position: 14th – Championship: 8th – Points: 112"It was a very tough race. I had a good start and I was able to fight a bit with Petrucci at the beginning, but quite soon this first group in front of me went away. It was impossible to follow them and then the more laps I was doing, the worse the feeling got. We were slighting too much, we were fighting too much and we had no solution. I tried many things with my riding, but I didn't find anything that helped. It's very hard to finish a race like that because I'm exhausted and I was very slow. So, I hope we will have better weekends on different tracks, also circuits, where the other riders didn't test. I hope this can be a chance for me to do some good results in order to finish the season well."
Hafizh Syahrin - Position: 18th – Championship: 18th – Points: 24"We made a good start, I was P13 in the beginning, just behind Rossi. I was fully motivated to stay with him, Morbidelli, Nakagami and Johann. I don't know why, but suddenly after eight laps I lost the rear contact on the ground, didn't have any grip anymore, I couldn't turn the bike and it was really hard to ride the bike like this. In the beginning of the race it was good, I believed we could score points in front of the other rookies, but in the end, I couldn't keep the pace. I was struggling a lot to stop the bike and to turn. Now, I try to continue with this motivation like in the beginning of the race. I don't know what to do, I just try to keep focused and try to take something away to improve myself and work hard with the team. I really hope Yamaha can find something to improve the bike."
Hervé Poncharal - Monster Yamaha Tech3 - Team Manager"We arrived in Aragón full of optimism and confidence. We weren't thinking to be on the podium but we thought we could be fighting for a top 10 result, which right now the level we have. Unfortunately, we leave Aragón with more than a bitter feeling, it's a big shame. I think it's the worst result of Johann when he finished a race, except maybe last year's Misano round when he run out of fuel in the last lap. That shows how far we are. Basically, our two guys had a good start, had a good rhythm for the first few laps and then they dropped, more dramatically for Hafizh then for Johann, but they both went down the order. Honestly, it was hard to follow the race. We are competitors, we are fighters and to see such a race is something that makes you wonder and that makes you feel truly sad. I think right now Johann said he's exhausted like he has been fighting for the victory and he ended up 14thand I think the whole team is feeling the same. It's a really tough moment. I can't remember and I can't believe if we've been that we've been fighting from pole position for podiums in the same season and now we're fighting for points. This is unbelievable. I don't think the tyre situation had anything to do with it because the race winner was on a soft rear, Iannone was on medium-soft, like we were, so on that department I think we were ok. But there are things to understand. I was also very excited to see Johann passing Petrucci and fighting in a group, where I thought he would stay long. I was excited to see Hafizh having a great start and being together with Valentino and in front of his fellow rookies, but unfortunately that didn't last long and we just lost ground. It's more than a pity, something we have to understand, because I don't think Johann and Hafizh deserve that result. I'm very sorry for our partners and for the people who follow us and are behind us. Clearly, we are in a crisis situation at the moment. I don't think we have the tools to recover soon. We can just hope that the next circuits will be more favorable. Johann and Hafizh had a great test in Thailand this winter, but this winter is already a long time ago, so I don't know. We have to regroup, we have to keep pushing, but now we have to pack for the four flyaways and the feeling is everything is going to be very heavy to pack. I'm unhappy, I'm sad, I'm angry, because we are not here to do that and I don't think the level of the team is what we see. But clearly, race after race it's almost the same comment, it's almost the same result. We saw Johann in the past being very aggressive and doing some unbelievable passes in the race, but we've just lost that. We haven't seen that for many, many races. He just seems to suffer, to struggle. We just seem to be outside of where we should be. It's a big shame."