Dramatic End to Movistar Yamaha`s Run at Drenched Valencia GP

2018-11-19 08:52
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team were unlucky to score just three points at the Grand Prix of Valencia today, despite both riders showing a very impressive pace in the wet.

Valentino Rossi had a brilliant start from 16th place at the Valencia Grand Prix, gaining five positions in the first corner alone. Perfectly adapting to the truly wet conditions, he cut through the field and was already in seventh place just two laps into the race.

By overtaking his teammate and with several rivals crashing ahead of him, he found himself in third place just four laps later. The potential podium only made him more hungry for the lead. He pushed hard and closed an over 7s gap to the front in less than seven laps to challenge the front runners, but at the start of lap 14 the race was red flagged due to track conditions.

The Valencia GP resumed with a quick restart procedure at 15:00 local track time (GMT+1). The race would be run over 14 laps, with the starting grid based on the standings as of lap 13, putting the Doctor in third place on the grid.

The Italian had a strong start to the sprint. He firmly held his third position through the first corners, but just as he was about to commence his attack in the second half of the second lap, the rain came bucketing down again. Still, he put the pressure on Álex Rins and made his move on lap 7 to snatch second, and he kept pushing. However, he fell victim to the treacherous conditions three laps later, in Turn 12. Still, the Yamaha rider didn't give up. He ran back to his bike and rejoined in 13th position, which he held until the chequered flag came out.

Maverick Viñales started the race from pole and as such had the difficult task of judging where the limits were on the slippery track in the opening lap. Not taking too many risks, he entered the first corner in second place and had to let another contender pass as he got a feel for the conditions.

Though he put up a fight on the first lap, he lost some ground after that and was lapping in eighth place on lap 5, behind his teammate. Together they started to shoot up the ranking order, and the Spaniard got a taste for the hunt by lap 11, clocking his fastest lap of the race. However, just a few moments later his venture came to an early halt when he suffered a sudden high-speed crash. Thankfully he was unharmed, but he was unable to join the restart, as he crashed before the end of lap 12.

Today's results see Rossi hold on to third position in the championship standings. Viñales finished the 2018 season in fourth place. Yamaha came third in the Constructor Championship, while the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team is also third in the team standings.

The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team will be back in action at the Valencian Ricardo Tormo circuit on Tuesday for the first Official IRTA test of the 2019 pre-season.

Valentino Rossi Valentino Rossi
Position: 13th – Championship: 3rd – Points: 198
"The feeling was very bad, because the conditions were tricky with four laps to go. We needed this result for my team and Yamaha, to finish the season in a nice way, but unfortunately I made a mistake. It's a great shame. It was a very similar crash to the one in Malaysia. We don't understand very well what happened. Maybe at the end we need to pay more attention. Still, it remained a good performance. Until that moment I enjoyed it, because I was strong, and I remained in third place in the championship, which is important."

Maverick Viñales Maverick Viñales
Position: DNF – Championship: 4th – Points: 193
"After the crash, I feel OK. I have no big injuries, only some pain in my shoulder. Anyway, it's been difficult, because I had a technical problem that didn't allow me to be faster at the start of the race. But then I concentrated so well, and I tried to ride very fast. I risked a lot, because for the championship I just needed to be in front of Valentino and he was riding really fast. It was a pity I had this issue, because without it, I would have been at the front fighting with Álex and Dovi. Anyway, we have to be happy that this is the third wet race where we are challenging at the front. I came back very strong from towards the back. Honestly, I'm happy the last five races have been so good. I was consistent and I felt very confident. We understand the bike and found out in which direction we needed to go, and we regained our confidence, so that's something to take away from 2018. It's important to understand what happened at the beginning of the season, so we can be smart and don't make the same mistakes. Now it's important to try the engines during the upcoming test, but I'm very happy with Yamaha. We are excited to start and I'm very motivated!"

Massimo Meregalli
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - Team Director
"It's disappointing to end both the race weekend and the season in this manner, especially considering how well Valentino and Maverick were riding in the first race. After this morning's Warm Up, we knew that Vale had a good chance to be competitive at the front, even though he had to start from 16th on the grid. To me his riding was super impressive - he was fighting for the lead! But then the red flags came out, so that meant he had to start from third. He was again strong in the restart, so it's a great shame that he didn't get the result today that matched his pace and also his efforts. Maverick was very unlucky in the first race. He managed to ride around the problems a technical issue was giving him and was competing in fourth place. Had just set a new personal best lap when he crashed at very high speed. Of course, the first priority is that he's OK, and we're glad that he didn't sustain any major injuries. However, it was a pity that he crashed during lap 12 and the restarting grid was based on the results as of the start of lap 13. Clearly this is not the way we wanted to finish the season, but our riders really pushed hard in very difficult conditions today, so we couldn't have asked for more. It was a difficult season overall, but towards the end we made progress, which is the direction we will continue to work in starting from the first official testing days, held this Tuesday and Wednesday."

Zarco Seals Independent Rider’s Title in Valencia - Syahrin Wraps Up Rookie Season with Another Impressive Top 10
The Monster Yamaha Tech3 duo showed a solid ultimate Grand Prix of the 2018 season today in Valencia. Both, Johann Zarco and Hafizh Syahrin did brave to get through a very tricky race that was held in two parts on a soaked wet circuit.

Zarco came off the line decently from the fourth row of the grid and progressed during the first 13 laps until he reached P5. Following the interruption because of too much water on track, the French star did brave to stay upright in scorching conditions and crossed the line in seventh. With it Zarco scored 158 points overall this season to end his successful first two MotoGP years with Monster Yamaha Tech3 as the best independent rider in 2018.

On the other side, Syahrin did a great job as well. In the first part of the race he made up position by position, after finishing the first lap in 21st, he concluded the first part in P10. In the remaining 14 laps, the MotoGP newcomer was fighting the persistent rain, put his head down and reached another fantastic top 10 result to finish his first year as the second best rookie of the classification.

Untitled Johann Zarco
Position: 7th – Championship: 6th – Points: 158
"It has been a tough Sunday. We had a lot of rain in the grid and I got a good feeling on the first start. The rain was so strong and the level of the water on track was pretty complicate to control. We saw many crashes happen. I could do my laps and have a good position. After the restart the others were faster than me and I could not follow them, but the target was to finish the race, be the first independent rider, which was our main goal at the beginning of the year and I'm so happy I managed to fulfil it. It's pretty good for me and the team, plus our history with Yamaha, because we did the last two years on a very great level. I'm really proud and happy about that situation. It was possible to fight for the top 5 in the championship, but this weekend, Alex Rins has been very fast. He rode perfectly, so congratulations to him! He deserves this position. Finally, I want to say, thank you to everybody for the two amazing years I had together with Tech3. I'm happy about the move for next year, because we will still share very good moments, even if we are not in the same garage during the race weekend."

Untitled Hafizh Syahrin
Position: 10th – Championship: 16th – Points: 46
"First of all, I just want to say thank you very much to my team. We didn't expect, that we can arrive in the top 10 in wet conditions. There was a lot of drama, many riders crashed. We stopped the race and I was in P10. We believed that we can give a challenge to the other riders. For me, it was the first time, that I could do a full race in the wet, I learned many things. In the end, I'm just four points behind the best rookie, Franco Morbidelli. Congratulations to him! Anyway, I did my best. I want to thank all our sponsors, all my family and fans, that come to support me. I'm really happy to be here in MotoGP. Next week we start a new journey and I will keep on working hard. Thank you very much to everybody!"

Hervé Poncharal
Monster Yamaha Tech3 - Team Manager
"Finally the 2018 season is over. It was almost a season that never wanted to stop, because we thought we would have our last start in Valencia and then we had another start. So, as I was telling some of our guests, don't complain, you have two starts for the price of one. Anyway, it's been in a way a difficult weekend, because the weather was not what you expect for the big finale, not what you expect in sunny Valencia, but at the end of the day, it made it very exciting, very unpredictable, of course with a lot of crashes, when you have so little grip. But overall, I think it made the races maybe even more interesting and exciting than what it would have been in the dry, because you saw some strange results and a different podium. I want to say, that I am very happy and very proud that for the second year in a row Johann Zarco managed to clinch the best independent rider, sixth in the championship. I think this is quite an achievement. Today he was again the first Yamaha. I know we were not the fastest, but it was important to stay on your wheels today and finish the race and this is what Johann did. Two years ago we started the adventure with Johann Zarco and Jonas Folger and after two years with Johann we are twice best independent rider and last year's rookie. I think we did a good job together and I'm proud of what we have done. I just want to thank Johann a lot for his two seasons with us. He has been a very professional rider, he has been fast, he has been clever and I wish him good luck for his new challenge. On the other side, Hafizh Syahrin had a tough weekend, because he almost never rode the MotoGP bike with the Michelin tyres in the wet, so it was a good weekend to learn and I think he learned a lot. His nickname is 'Pescao', which normally means fish and usually a fish is happy when you have a lot of water. But clearly, although tenth position is maybe not what he was dreaming of, but I think he had a solid weekend and from FP1 on Friday to today the improvement of his riding style, of the gap to the top has been unbelievable. Clearly, this guy has a very special feeling on the wet and the feeling he was having in the Moto2 is coming in the MotoGP. I'm also very glad, that he could witness how good his future bike is on the wet condition, because this is a big challenge for all of us. Hafizh is part of this challenge and from Tuesday morning we will start a new chapter of our life as a team. Before ending my quote, I would like one more time to thank Yamaha a lot from the bottom of our hearts from the whole team, our two riders: big, big thank you to everybody, Yamaha management, engineers, because all what we've done during these last two seasons with Johann and this year with Hafizh has been possible because of the great support we had from Yamaha. So, this is the end, again thank you very much."

Source: Yamaha Motor Europe

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