Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales return to Italy for the Gran Premio Octo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, held at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli this weekend.Despite the cancelled race at Silverstone a little less than a fortnight ago, the Yamaha Factory Team hasn't been sitting still. They spent last week conducting a private test in Aragon, to find additional information to the data they gathered at the private test in Misano two weeks prior.
This year Rossi is extra eager to make his presence felt at the San Marino round. Last year the Italian supporters were disappointed that the local hero was unable to race at his home Grand Prix due to a leg injury. This year he aims to make up for it and he is excited to see "a sea of yellow" as he greets his fans at his home GP.
The Doctor holds second place in the championship, with a 59-point gap to first, but he has the crowd behind him in Misano, cheering him on. Previously Rossi stood on the MotoGP podium there six times, scoring three MotoGP victories, in 2008, 2009 and 2014, two second places in 2012 and 2016 and a third place in 2010.
This weekend Viñales aims to inch closer from fifth position to the top spot in the championship rankings again, decreasing the 88-point gap. He has visited the San Marino rostrum once before, when he scored a second place in the Moto3 class in 2013. Last year the youngster narrowly missed out on a podium place in the MotoGP class when he defended Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's honours in a solo performance in wet conditions. He hopes to change his fortune this time round.
The Spaniard showed that he had improved his feeling aboard the YZR-M1 at the free practice sessions of the British Grand Prix and during the positive private Aragon test last week, making him all the more determined to fight at the front of the rider field this weekend.
The Misano circuit was designed in 1969 and became a regular scene for Italian Grands Prix throughout the 80s and early 90s. The 4.2 km track is ridden clockwise since a radical renovation was done in 2006 to meet MotoGP's safety regulations, putting the circuit back on the calendar in 2007. In 2008 a new chicane resulted in the circuit's current lay-out of six left and ten right corners. These improvements not only made the track safer, but also increased the race excitement, as the numerous fast corners provide many overtaking possibilities for the passionate Italian fans to enjoy.
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team will again be supporting KiSS Misano (KiSS stands for Keep it Shiny & Sunstainable) programme this weekend, to contribute to a sustainable and environmentally friendly Grand Prix event, keeping the track clean for many years to come.
Valentino Rossi - Championship: 2nd – Points: 142"It's always special when you arrive at your home GP. There will be many friends and fans at the circuit and we'll give it our all to make it a nice weekend. We were in Misano for a test a few weeks ago and we will have to pick up our work again from where we left off. We'll give our maximum to start the weekend in the best way possible and do a good race, fighting for the podium. I hope the weather will be good, so everybody can enjoy this weekend."
Maverick Viñales - Championship: 5th – Points: 113"Unfortunately, due to the bad weather conditions we couldn't race at Silverstone and that was a pity because I felt very good on the bike and very fast during all the practices. Now we will arrive at Misano after a very useful test in Aragon where we kept working on finding the best set-up for my riding style. We are very motivated, because I can feel that we are working in the right direction again. I'm starting to have the same feeling on my M1 as I had last year at the beginning of the season and that gives me a sense of calm and allows me to focus on continuing to get points in each race. It's very positive that we were able to give a good performance in the test at the Misano track some weeks ago. We improved a lot of things on the set-up, so I will try to give my 100%, as always, to bring the long-awaited victory for Yamaha."
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - Team Director"Not being able to race in Silverstone has made the team all the more eager to get to work at the Misano World Circuit this weekend. The San Marino round is very special, because we see it as a 'second home GP' for our team, and of course it's Valentino's home race too. After his absence last year, he is full of motivation to race in front of his many fans, so close to Tavullia. The atmosphere at this round is always fantastic and we expect to have a lot of supporters for our team this weekend. Both Vale and Maverick enjoy the Misano circuit and, after the successful private test there a few weeks ago as well as the one we had in Aragon last week, we are in a positive mindset to start racing again."
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Duo Eagerly Awaits San Marino Grand PrixFollowing the cancellation of the British Grand Prix, Monster Yamaha Tech3's Johann Zarco and Hafizh Syahri nare primed to arrive in Misano for the Gran Premio di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini this weekend, starting with FP1 at 9.55 on Friday. While Zarco is looking forward to be back at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli with anticipation after finding a fantastic feeling at the 4.2-kilometer venue last year, MotoGP rookie Syahrin faces again the challenge to learn the circuit abroad his Yamaha YZR-M1.
Johann Zarco - Championship: 7th – Points: 104"Misano is a small track compared to Silverstone and we should have good weather there. I think there were quite some riders who tested there before, which will make my job a little bit harder to be close to the top and to be able to fight for the best five positions. I would like to be there, it will for sure be complicated, but I still believe I have the chance. I was so happy with the first row in England, so we can try to be back in the front row again in Misano, which is a track I like and I have some great memories, especially from Moto2 and I know that the Yamaha holds the fastest lap record with Jorge Lorenzo's pole position two years ago. So, there are many possibilities for our bike and me, I will give the best as usually and try to be ready for a good race."
Hafizh Syahrin - Championship: 16th – Points: 24"It was a great pity for me that we couldn't race in Silverstone because I never experienced full wet conditions on the MotoGP bike, but safety goes first, so the decision was easy. Now I look forward to Misano, a track that I like so much and I have some good memories there. I try to be ready from the first Free Practice on and I know that I have to improve my Qualifying, therefore I trained hard the last week and will try to be more focused. I hope everything is going well."
Hervé Poncharal - Monster Yamaha Tech3 - Team Manager"After the big disappointment of having to cancel the race in Silverstone I believe everybody is looking forward first of all to a race itself and everybody is eager to race in sunny and warm conditions, we hopefully get in Misano, which is always a really nice venue for the MotoGP. It's end of the summer but still you almost feel like on holiday, by the sea, it's warm, there are plenty of nice restaurants, the most hotels have a sea view, overall, it's really a good place to end the summer. We haven't been testing there, quite few other teams did, especially the factories. Our factory, Yamaha, was testing too and hopefully they'll give us some information from their work. But anyway, it's riders, they all have a different style and obviously, we have to work hard with Johann and Hafizh. We are confident to have a decent result there and more than anything, a race at all."