Movistar Yamaha Clinch Third and Fourth in Czech Flag-To-Flag2017-08-06 12:36
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Maverick Viñales turned a difficult weekend around with a superb performance today at the Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky, working his way up to third place in a thrilling flag-to-flag race. Teammate Valentino Rossi was leading the race in the early stages and also put up a strong fight after swapping bikes, to ultimately cross the line in fourth place.
Starting the race from seventh on the grid, Viñales slotted into sixth position after the first corner. He followed his teammate past Dani Pedrosa to fifth on the opening lap, but it soon became clear the track was too dry for the wet tyres to last.
The Yamaha rider quickly headed into the pits after lap 4 to switch bikes. Back on track in 13th place, he quickly got back into the groove and gained positions as other riders came in to change bikes a lap later. He soon circulated in eleventh place and was on the move with 17 laps to go. Putting his head down, he rode a superb race. The Spaniard carried a strong pace over the next nine laps and climbed up to third, dropping a personal best on lap 16, followed by a fastest race lap of 1‘57.052s. However, he was unable to close the gap to the front riders and crossed the line in third place, 18.135s from first.
Rossi had a decent start from second position, in what was declared a wet race, taking fifth place after the initial run up to the first corner. He quickly picked up a place on the opening lap and started chasing the top-3. The Doctor was flying on his second lap, passing Andrea Dovizioso and Marc Marquez as the sun broke through the clouds.
With 20 laps ahead of him, the Italian found himself in second place, with a 1.4s gap to Jorge Lorenzo. Riding faster than anyone on track, he closed right up and took over at the front on lap 4, but had to come in to change bikes a lap later. The nine-time World Champion rejoined the pack in 14th place. Over the next 17 laps he was the star of the race, cutting through the field like a knife through butter to ultimately secure fourth position, finishing just off the podium, 20.466s from the front.
Today's race results see Viñales hold second place in the standings, 14 points from first and eight points ahead of Rossi, who holds fourth in the championship. Yamaha retains the lead in the Constructor‘s rankings, by nine points, while the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team currently lies in second place in the Team‘s classification, five points from the lead.
The MotoGP paddock will now move on to Spielberg, Austria, for the Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich, held at the Red Bull Ring next weekend.
Our riders both were comfortable on their bikes today. They were on the pace right from the start of the race, but it soon became clear that they would have to switch back to slicks. Flag-to-flag races are by nature uncertain and a gamble. Maverick came in a lap earlier than Vale, but in the heat of the moment this is always a difficult decision to make for both the team and the riders, especially if you‘re leading the race. Our riders both rejoined mid-field after switching bikes and showed their speed. As soon as they had their tyres up to temperature they rode solid lap times, even dropping into the low 1‘57s. It was a shame that the changing track conditions played such a big role today. We aim to fight at the front again at the Austrian Grand Prix next weekend.
I‘m really happy. Honestly, third was the best we could do today. Our target was to be on the podium and we did it. We were struggling during the whole weekend. Finishing third on a tough weekend is a good result. We have to be on the podium, this has to be the norm if we want to win the championship title. I came in a little bit late, I think, but at the same time as Dani Pedrosa and some other riders, so it was good for the overall result. The track was drying out really fast. It might have been better to stop a little bit earlier, but this is the first time I finish a flag-to-flag race on the podium, so it gives me a lot of experience. In Austria it‘s going to be really important to have a good feeling and a good weekend, and winning on Sunday will also be really important. I think all the podiums today were dedicated to Ángel Nieto, because he was really important and one of the best.
It is always difficult in these conditions in a flag-to-flag. It for sure isn't our strongest point, this type of racing, but in the end the result is not so bad. We improved a lot from the last flag-to-flag and I finished fourth, but I think that before the end of my career we can defeat this flag-to-flag race situation! Anyway, I think that in a full dry or full wet race I can fight for the podium for sure. It remained a good weekend, because we worked well in the box. I felt good with the bike, that's important, and I was strong on the wet and on the dry. The race was very hard, I pushed from the beginning to the end. It's a shame that we could have taken more points and arrived on the podium, but it's like this and in this condition fourth place is not so bad.
Source: Yamaha Motor Racing
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