Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales gave a strong performance today at a hot TT Assen Circuit and ultimately secured 2nd place on the grid for tomorrow's Motul TT Assen race. Team-mate Valentino Rossi had a more difficult time of it in the Netherlands today. Taking part in the Q1 session, he was unable to secure a spot for Q2 and qualified in 14th place.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team‘s Maverick Viñales continued the positive momentum he had on Day 1 at the TT Circuit Assen, following it up with a strong Q2 session. He put in some blistering laps, setting the second fastest time. Valentino Rossi was unable to ride the hot lap he had in mind. He missed out on a Q2 spot and will start tomorrow's race from the fifth row on the grid.
Viñales showed great pace all day, and he wasn‘t shy to push in Q2. He was the last rider to hit the track, to ensure himself of some clear space and used it to his advantage. His first lap put him in fourth place, but he was just getting warmed up in the bright Dutch sunshine. He was briefly pushed back to fifth, but replied by clocking the provisional third fastest time and entered the garage with over seven minutes remaining.
This time the Spaniard changed tactics. A quick minute later he dashed out of pit lane to be the first rider to start his final pole position effort. He was putting on his A-game, setting a 1 minute 32.157 seconds to take pole, with a 0.304 second advantage. However, the fight wasn‘t over. A charging Fabio Quartararo spoiled Viñales‘ plans. It was mainly between the two Yamaha men to take the honours, but the number-12 rider was unable to improve on his best lap on the next two attempts and finished the session in second place, 0.140 second from first.
It was a disappointing qualifying day for Rossi. He was originally set for a place in Q2, but after the chequered flag came out in FP3, his hot lap was cancelled due to exceeding track limits. As a consequence, he had to take part in Q1.
The Doctor opted for letting most of the rider field exit pit lane ahead of him, before starting his shoot-out. His first lap put him in provisional third place, but the pace was heating up. Unable to improve on his next try (which was also cancelled), he returned to the pits to make some changes whilst lying in fifth place.
With three and a half minutes left, he started his second run on fresh tyres. He put in a 1 minute 33.336 seconds, briefly moving up to third, and only just missed out on a top-2 result, but later also this time was annulled. He had one more lap left and, though losing some momentum in S2, ended the session in fourth place, with a 1 minute 33.466 seconds, 0,756 second from first. He will start tomorrow‘s race from P14, on the fifth row of the grid.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales didn‘t put a foot wrong this weekend at the TT Circuit Assen and he proved untouchable on race day. He took his and Yamaha‘s first victory since last year‘s race in Phillip Island in style, having to really fight for it in a hard battle at the front. In contrast, Valentino Rossi's challenge came to a sudden halt due to a crash.
It was a day of mixed emotions for the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team at the TT Circuit Assen today. Maverick Viñales delivered a strong race performance at the Motul TT Assen round, riding his YZR-M1 to a brilliant victory after a hard fight at the front. Valentino Rossi‘s luckless streak continued in the Netherlands. He suffered a crash on lap 5, ending his challenge prematurely.
Viñales had a good start from P2, but a wobble in Turn 1 left him a bit unsettled. He fell back to fourth, which he held crossing the finish line for the first time. There was a small scrap between him and Marc Marquez early on, until the number-12 rider noticed the three front men getting away, prompting him to make his move. As he chased the race leaders, frontrunner Álex Rins crashed. It didn‘t shake up the Yamaha rider though. He passed Joan Mir, and then the battle with Marquez and Fabio Quartararo really started.
The 24-year-old was in third place for a while and was having a good look behind Marquez with 14 laps to go, deciding carefully where he would make his move. He first led the race on lap 16, but Marquez proved difficult to shake. With 9 laps to go, the Yamaha rider ran wide going into Turn 1 and fell back to second place, but it was only briefly. He retaliated that same lap by using the Yamaha‘s nimble character to perfection, reclaiming the P1 spot. It was the right moment to put his head down, and this time he broke free from his rival. He showed his incredible race pace, setting a personal best lap of 1 minute 33.720 seconds on lap 21. The Spaniard kept his concentration until the very end and took the chequered flag with a 4.854 seconds advantage.
Rossi did well to manoeuvre himself through the busy mid-pack in the early stages of the race. Setting off from P14, he held his position in the opening lap and gained a place on the next. He had found a set-up he liked in this morning's warm-up, and it clearly worked for him in the early stages of the race as he swiftly moved up to 11th place in lap 3.
However bad luck struck for the third time in a row. Eager to hit the front, the Italian attempted to overtake Takaaki Nakagami on lap 5 but suffered a fast crash in Turn 8, unfortunately taking his rival down with him. Thankfully the Doctor was quickly back on his feet and able to check on his fellow rider, but he could not resume his challenge.
Today's NC result means Rossi stays in fifth position in the championship standings with an 88-point gap to first. Viñales on the other hand moves up from eleventh to seventh in the rankings, with a 95-point margin to the top. Yamaha remains third in the constructor standings, whilst Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP gains one position, to third, in the team classification.
The team will be back in action next week, when the riders take on the Sachsenring for the German GP.
“We start with the positives. Maverick was strong all weekend and started the Dutch GP with the same confidence level he had in Barcelona. To have him battle at the front, which is where he belongs, and win in such a convincing manner is fantastic, especially in hot weather, the circumstances in which we struggled in the past. This win is an indication that we‘re heading in the right direction and is a very important reward for both Maverick, his team, and Yamaha, because they have been working very hard. It also slightly makes up for the misfortune our team encountered in Catalunya. However, as much as we are happy for Maverick, we are disappointed for Valentino. The race is always tricky when you‘re starting from more towards the back, but he had found something he liked in the morning and was on his way up the order when he crashed. It‘s a shame, and also very unlucky that Nakagami was taken down too. In any case, we have learned from this weekend and head to the Sachsenring fully motivated to get to work.”
"It feels like I'm dreaming. These have been difficult times for me, because I've been out of the three tracks where I thought I had the most potential with the bike. My season has been difficult, but I've tried to keep the momentum from Catalunya, because I felt really good on the bike. I'm so grateful to the team, because they did a great job this weekend and prepared well for the last laps of the race. I was strong, even one-to-one on the brakes, I knew I could make the overtakes. It was very important to relieve some of the pressure by taking a victory. I think the team will be more relaxed now. Being back on the top step of the podium again feels really good and bringing Yamaha back to its winning ways is the most important to me. We knew we had the potential but hadn't been able to show it. It's always a combination between the team's, the rider's, and the bike's efforts. Sachsenring is a track I'm usually fast at, so we'll try our best."
"I was quite fast, so I tried to recover some positions. I was battling with Nakagami and I tried to overtake him, entering Turn 8, but I was a bit too much off the line, I think. When I entered the corner, I lost the front and unfortunately I also took out Nakagami, so that's a great shame and I have to say "sorry". It was a mistake and a pity, because today, after being slow this weekend, we had found something, so during the race I was good. I felt good with the bike. So, on one side this makes it an even bigger shame, but on the other side it's also important to realise that I was suffering too much this weekend and that we need to be stronger."