Fresh from the Brno Test, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Valentino Rossi heads to the Red Bull Ring - Spielberg circuit for this weekend's eyetime Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich.Maverick Viñales' crash in the Czech Republic last Sunday prevented him from attending the test, but he is happy he can join team activities this weekend for round 11 of the 2018 MotoGP World Championship.
Rossi arrives in Austria holding second place in the championship standings. He was able to try some new setting solutions and a new fairing during the Brno test just two days ago and is eager to show great speed in Austria, though the nature of the Red Bull Ring traditionally doesn't play into Yamaha's strengths.
The Doctor secured his first ever podium at the Spielberg track with a third place in the 125cc class in 1996 and followed it up with a second place in the same class in 1997. The Italian is determined to add an Austrian MotoGP rostrum to his résumé this time round, as well as decrease the current 49-point gap to first place in the championship rankings.
In the last two years, Viñales took solid sixth places in Austria, but this year nothing but a podium result will do, as he aims to make up for last week's DNC.
The Spaniard was feeling sore on the Monday after the crash and decided to skip the Brno test in order to be fully recovered at the start of this weekend's GP, though the decision left him with some regret. The youngster had planned on working on acceleration, which is a vital point at the Austrian circuit. However, feeling close to 100% fit again, he is ready to reclaim third position in the rider standings by bridging the 4-point gap.
In 2016 the Spielberg circuit hosted its first MotoGP Grand Prix after nineteen years. The circuit was constructed in 1969 and was rebuilt in 1996 to the track's current lay-out. The circuit stands out, as it has only ten corners in total (three left and seven right). Other features include a 626m longest straight and an 18-metre-high landmark "Bull of Spielberg" in the track's centre. The circuit's design puts the emphasis on top speed, acceleration and braking stability, allowing the riders plenty of opportunity to fully open the throttle.
Valentino Rossi - Championship: 2nd - Points: 132"August is a very intense month. After the race and the test in Brno we will immediately get back on track in Austria. This will allow us to continue the work we are doing to improve the bike. The Austrian circuit has never been very positive or a favourite for us and last year we suffered. But this year's bike has improved and we will try to have a good weekend and fight for the podium. We will do our best."
Maverick Viñales - Championship: 4th - Ponts: 109"The first thing I want to say is that I'm fine after the crash in Brno. It was a weekend to forget, so I can't wait to arrive in Austria. Unfortunately, it wasn't possible for me to test in Brno, because I was a little sore from the crash, and we decided I should rest in order to be 100% ready for the next round. I had planned to try some things in Brno on Monday, like working on the acceleration, that will be very important at the Red Bull Ring where the top speed is crucial considering the track lay-out. However, testing wasn't possible for me. As I've been saying during the last GPs, we know that we have to continue scoring points to be at least in the top-3 in the championship standings and to have the option to win this year's World Title. Last year in Austria the race was not good for us, we finished sixth and seventh, so I sincerely hope that this year we can bring home a better result and we will work hard for that."
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - Team Director"After the race and test in Brno, we headed straight to Austria for the only European back-to-back race of the year. We're pleased to be reunited with Maverick, who wasn't able to take part in the Brno test. Luckily, he is feeling better now, so the entire team will be able to give it 100% again as one united front, as always. Vale and the team have put in hard work in the Czech Republic race and test and we aim to use the new data to our advantage at the Red Bull Ring. Spielberg is a very nice event, so the team is looking forward to it. The track's lay-out doesn't match our bike's main strengths, but we're going to put up a fight."
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Pair Travels to Austria with High MotivationWith an intense and successful Brno test fresh in their minds, Johann Zarco and Hafizh Syahrin head straight to Spielberg, Austria this weekend with the aim to convert their great sensations into important results, starting from this Friday at 9.55 with the first Free Practice.
After a strong Czech GP, Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider Zarco used his experience from the race to find an even better setting of his Yamaha YZR-M1 during the one-day test on the same track and is now eager to prove his enhanced feeling in the Austrian hills. Likewise, Syahrin can't wait to arrive in Austria in order to adapt his work on his riding style on Monday to the Spielberg circuit. In addition, the MotoGP newcomer aims to extend his lead in the Rookie of the Year classification.
Johann Zarco - Championship: 6th – Points: 97"Spielberg has a nice track, which I really enjoy since I was riding in the Moto2, where I celebrated a victory. Last year it has also been a great fight with the other riders. I hope I can have the same battle and try to reach the podium. I'm sure, that Ducati will be strong, but why shouldn't I try to follow them as long as possible. So, I go there with a happy mind and in a happy mood. After the great race in Czech Republic I have high hopes because my feeling is on the way back to be fast and I want to use it immediately in Spielberg."
Hafizh Syahrin - Championship: 16th – Points: 24"We have a back to back race after Brno. I'm really looking forward to Austria and want to improve my riding again and extend my experience with the bike. I want to score more points this weekend than during the Czech GP. I'm incredibly excited to ride this track in Spielberg with the big bike. This is going to be a lot of fun. We'll see what we can do, especially in the fight for the best rookie, which I want to win. Also, I aim to learn from the other more experienced riders, want to work hard and get closer step by step."
Hervé Poncharal - Monster Yamaha Tech3 - Team Manager"I believe the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team had a really strong and fruitful test on Monday following the Czech GP, although we have absolutely nothing to test as new parts or new items, it's always interesting to play with the bike and to gather some more feedback. You can do things and try out stuff you don't do during race weekend because during the race weekend you're always obsessed by the time remaining and the stop watch. This is a good way to work with a free mind and you can also take more risks. So, you can understand things better and you and the team can stronger and quicker understand what is necessary. Anyway, it has been a good test and I want to thank both, Johann and Hafizh for their hard work and dedication. They are true athletes and I'm proud to have these two guys with us, as they put their head down, work hard, barely complain and always try to keep a positive attitude, no matter what is happening. Now we have only three days before the next practice starts in Austria. I really hope both can use these few days to recover. The team has also been working really hard, back to back races are never easy, especially when you have a day of testing in addition on Monday. Anyway, Austria is a very nice place. Clearly, on Wednesday and Thursday you can enjoy the paddock, which is beautiful and also the nature and the surroundings are great. Thank you Johann, thank you Hafizh, thank you the whole team, the technicians, the hospitality and media staff: have some rest and in a few days we're back to work."