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2019 MotoGP Round 4 - Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP

Viñales shows impressive race-end speed for third place at the Spanish GP.

Date Published: 06 May 2019
2019 MotoGP Round 4 - Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP

Free Pactise

The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team commenced the fourth round of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship today at a sunny Circuito de Jerez - Ángel Nieto. It was a busy day for Maverick Viñales, who enjoyed two solid free practice sessions and secured 6th place in the combined timesheets. Valentino Rossi focused on his bike‘s set-up in the morning and made further steps in the afternoon, taking 16th position overall.

2019 MotoGP Round 4 - Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP

It was a full-on first day at the Gran Premio de España for the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team. Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi tried a new bottom fender package (referred to as “the spoon”) and took 6th and 16th position respectively overall.

2019 MotoGP Round 4 - Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP

Eager to improve acceleration, Viñales wasted no time to get to work. The Spaniard was excited to see if the new track surface, with improved grip-level, would play to his advantage, and it did. He was in his element and set a best time of 1 minute 38.112 seconds, 0.191 seconds from first, good for third place.

The home rider took some time adjusting his bike's setting in the afternoon when the sun came out. Once comfortable, he set a 1 minute 38.556 seconds. Viñales was ready to push some more in his next stint, but then a red flag halted the session. The FP2 was restarted a few minutes later, and in the remaining 2 minutes 42 seconds the Yamaha rider improved his FP2 time to a 1 minute 38.241 seconds, for fifth place, 0.332 seconds from the top. His faster morning time earned him sixth place in the combined FP rankings, 0.203 seconds from first.

2019 MotoGP Round 4 - Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP

Rossi put in the work this morning. He used the entire session to adjust his bike's settings. Without giving much regard to clocking a hot lap, he finished the 45-minute outing in 18th position with a best lap of 1 minute 39.380 seconds, 1.459 seconds from the front.

2019 MotoGP Round 4 - Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP

The Doctor continued his set-up progress in the afternoon, adapting it to the much higher temperatures. Though he couldn‘t find the right feeling, he put his head down halfway through the session after he had fresh medium tyres fitted under his Yamaha. He immediately moved up nine places to provisional P7 on his first flying lap, but soon proceedings were temporarily stopped due to track conditions. After the restart, he bettered his time to a 1 minute 38.681 seconds, but didn't improve his placement, ending FP2 in 14th place. He finished 16th in the combined FP results, 0.772 seconds from first.

Qualifying

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi came out fighting in today's Q1. Viñales scored first place and went on to take 5th on the grid in Q2. Rossi narrowly missed out on getting through to Q2 and will start tomorrow's race from P13.

2019 MotoGP Round 4 - Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi had to push to the fullest on a tough second day at the Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto. After a difficult FP3 session, both Viñales and Rossi found themselves on the entry list for Q1. Viñales showed good speed in the first 15-minute shoot-out, securing first place, and went on to take fifth place in Q2. Rossi missed out on promoting to Q2 by just 0.072s and will start tomorrow‘s race from 13th place.

Viñales was quick to leave pit lane for Q1 to get a hot lap in. After an encouraging FP4 session, where he set the second fastest time, he was still in the rhythm and clocked a 1 minute 37.378 seconds benchmark time that put him in provisional first position. He then immediately headed back to the pits.

2019 MotoGP Round 4 - Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP

With over eight minutes left, he was back out, but now in second place, as team-mate Rossi had taken over at the top. Having seen how close the times were whilst he was in pit lane, Viñales was pushing extra hard. The result was a 1 minute 37.316 seconds to reclaim first by 0.055 seconds, but he wasn‘t done yet. He next lap, a 1 minute 37.164 seconds, put him 0.135 seconds clear of the rest of the riders and earned him a spot in Q2.

After the relatively easy pass through, the Spanish rider adopted a different strategy in Q2. He waited in the box for a while, to ensure himself of some clear space out on track. However, as he had only one soft rear tyre left, his first stint was done on the medium spec tyres, and he wasn‘t able to challenge for pole.

He made a quick stop to have his last soft rear tyre fitted and made sure he had a little more than five minutes left to put it to good use. His first attempt very briefly put him in third place, but shortly after he was pushed down to fifth. He improved his time on his next attempt, to a 1 minute 37.114 seconds, 0.234 seconds from first. That result kept him in fifth place on the grid for tomorrow‘s race, in the middle of the second row.

2019 MotoGP Round 4 - Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP

Rossi also had his game face on in Q1. His second flying lap saw him take over at the top of the standings from Viñales, with a 1 minute 37.371 seconds. On a similar strategy as his team-mate, he headed back to pit lane immediately after.

With around five minutes to go the Doctor was back out, but he didn‘t have the same feeling as he had in the first stint. Though he set two personal best sectors, he was unable to better his times on his next two laps due to traffic and was surpassed in his second position by a late charging rider in the final stages of the session. Rossi ended just 0.072 seconds from a place in Q2 and will start tomorrow‘s race from the 13th position on the grid, on the fifth row.

Race

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales had to go all out in the final laps to defend his third-place podium position and he did so flawlessly. Valentino Rossi recovered from 13th on the grid to a hard-fought sixth place, salvaging important championship points.

2019 MotoGP Round 4 - Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi held firm in today‘s hot Gran Premio de España. A good start by Viñales and great pace in the final stages were key to him taking a well-deserved third place, which moves him up six places in the championship standings. Starting from the fifth row, Rossi had a tough race ahead of him, but he managed the busy mid-pack activity well, riding to sixth place for some crucial championship points.

2019 MotoGP Round 4 - Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP

Viñales had a strong start from P5, moving up to fourth through the first corner. He was pushing a 100 per cent right from the start to tack on to the back of the leading group of three riders, with Alex Rins on his tail. With 15 laps to go, the two Petronas Yamaha SRT riders in front of him started to battle each other. The Factory Yamaha rider seized the opportunity to close the gap, but then got involved in a fight himself for fourth place with Álex Rins.

Three laps later he gained a position as Fabio Quartararo had a technical issue. Smelling a podium place once more, Viñales overtook Franco Morbidelli for third with 10 laps to go. With the front two riders too far ahead to bridge the gap, he spent the remainder of the race increasing the gap over the riders behind him.

2019 MotoGP Round 4 - Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP

2019 MotoGP Round 4 - Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP

The Yamaha rider came under pressure from Andrea Dovizioso in the latter stages of the race but defended his position masterfully. He set various personal best sectors and ended on a high setting his best race lap, a 1 minute 38.157 seconds. He finished the race in third place, 2.443 seconds from first.

2019 MotoGP Round 4 - Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP

Rossi also gritted his teeth until the very end of the race. Starting from P13 is never easy, but the veteran managed his way through the busy mid-pack, immediately gaining two positions at the start and one more soon after, to enter the top-10.

After Quartararo suffered a mechanical issue, the Italian spent most of the race in ninth place, until the last eight laps. Having saved his hard-hard tyre combination, he was then ready to cut through the field. Visibly in his element, he picked up three places in two laps.

2019 MotoGP Round 4 - Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP

Having arrived in sixth place with five laps to go, he had an over 2 seconds-gap to bridge. The Doctor tried his utmost but was unable to inch closer. He crossed the line in sixth place, 7.547 seconds from the top, earning himself ten important championship points.

2019 MotoGP Round 4 - Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP

Today's results see Rossi now in fourth position in the championship standings with a 9-point gap to first. Viñales made a big step, moving up from 12th to 6th place, with a 40-point margin to the top. Yamaha is fourth in the constructor standings, whilst Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP is second in the team classification.

The team will be back in action at the Jerez track tomorrow for the official one-day IRTA test, in preparation for the Grand Prix de France, held at the Le Mans circuit, in two weeks' time.

Massimo Meregalli
Team Director
“Considering where we were at after FP3, we welcome today‘s results with open arms. A lot of work has been done this weekend. We found a good set-up for Maverick in FP4. He had a really good start and positioned himself at the back of the front group, that was a key factor for today‘s podium. Also, he kept a really good pace the entire race and fended off Dovizioso, setting a 1‘38.1s on the last lap. We‘re very pleased with this third place, because it‘s a great confidence booster after a couple of tough races for him. Valentino‘s race had been compromised by the Q1 session and, at a track like this, starting from the fifth row is a huge set-back. The beginning of his race wasn‘t as good as usual, and he wasn‘t feeling comfortable with the hard front tyre for most of the race. Still, there are some positives to take away from this round. We arrived here with some doubts, because the last two years we have struggled here, so today‘s third place is a testimony to the hard work we have done and improvements we have made over the winter. Tomorrow we have a few things that we would like to try, especially concerning the electronics settings. If we find positive results, then we will use this new solution in Le Mans.”

2019 MotoGP Round 4 - Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP

Maverick Viñales
“To be on the podium feels like a victory to me. I saw that Dovi and Petrucci were behind me, together, so I thought “Woah, Dovi is going to push, so it‘s going to be difficult”, so I just tried to do my best laps and ride the best sectors I could. Honestly, it was difficult because I had just a little bit of tyre left at the end. I don‘t know if I could have done more laps like that last lap, but I‘m happy because the bike was good at the end. It was very important to demonstrate that we could be there. We recovered a lot of confidence, especially with the front tyre. We‘ve done something different on the bike, that gives me more consistency at the start so I can be much more precise. I‘m really happy because we didn‘t lose any positions at the start, we even gained one, and then another during the race. We‘ve been working really good during the whole weekend. After FP3 we were out of Q2, which means that, since then, we‘ve improved the bike quite a lot. Today was a good test to see where we are. It‘s important that we weren‘t so far from the front in the end. The most important thing is to be on the podium consistently. If we give our best, I think I can arrive at the top, but honestly there‘s no time to relax. Especially tomorrow, we need to do a good test. It‘s very important tomorrow to get everything done and go to Le Mans with a good mindset.”

2019 MotoGP Round 4 - Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP

Valentino Rossi
"We made the choice of the tyre at the very last moment. I wanted to race with the medium, but later the temperature rose a lot and we thought "Medium or hard? Medium or hard? Medium or hard?". In the end we put in the hard, and I think this is the big thing we could have changed. I'm very curious to try the race with the medium, because at the end Maverick was good. I did a good start, but at the beginning I didn't have enough pace to overtake, but on the second half of the race I was good. I was stronger and my pace wasn't too bad, good enough to overtake, go, and take some points, which are good for the championship. I think that if I had started more towards the front I could have stayed with the front group, around where Maverick was. The pace of today's race was very, very fast. I was like 25 seconds faster than my race last year, the gap to first position is less, I felt more comfortable on the bike, and especially on the last lap I was fast. Now we have to concentrate on the next few races."

Race Results

1. M. Marquez Repsol Honda Team 41'08.685
2. A. Rins Team Suzuki Ecstar + 1.654
3. M. Viñales Monster Energy Yamaha Motogp + 2.443
4. A. Dovizioso Mission Winnow Ducati + 2.804
5. D. Petrucci Mission Winnow Ducati + 4.748
6. V. Rossi Monster Energy Yamaha Motogp + 7.547
7. F. Morbidelli Petronas Yamaha Srt + 8.228
8. C. Crutchlow Lcr Honda Castrol + 10.052
9. T. Nakagami Lcr Honda Idemitsu + 10.274
10. S. Bradl Lcr Honda + 13.402
11. A. Espargarò Aprilia Racing Team Gresini + 15.431
12. J. Lorenzo Repsol Honda Team + 18.473
13. P. Espargarò Red Bull Ktm Factory Racing + 20.156
14. J. Zarco Red Bull Ktm Factory Racing + 26.706
15. T. Rabat Reale Avintia Racing + 28.513
16. K. Abraham Reale Avintia Racing + 36.858
17. B. Smith Aprilia Factory Racing + 41.390
18. M. Oliveira Red Bull Ktm Tech3 + 41.570
19. H. Syahrin Red Bull Ktm Tech3 + 50.568
20. J. Miller Pramac Racing N.C. (3 Laps)
21. J. Mir Team Suzuki Ecstar N.C. (5 Laps)
22. F. Quartararo Petronas Yamaha Srt N.c. (12 Laps)
23. F. Bagnaia Pramac Racing N.C. (19 Laps)

 

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