Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi had their work cut out for them in today's GoPro Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland at the Sachsenring, but battled to a solid fourth and fifth place respectively at the final race before the MotoGP summer break.
Starting from eleventh on the grid, Viñales was determined to make a good start and picked up one place on his opening lap. After warming his tyres on the first six laps, he was ready to start his pursuit of the front groups and closed the gap to the battle for eighth position in the space of two laps, hitting the front of that group with 19 laps to go.
It didn’t take the young Spaniard long to climb further up the rankings. At the end of the 14th lap, coming out of the last corner, he perfectly lined up Aleix Espargaró and Danilo Petrucci to move up to sixth place by the end of the long straight. He followed it up with a personal best lap, a 1:21.903s, on lap 16 and made his charge to Andrea Dovizioso and Rossi look effortless.
Taking a few laps to observe his rivals, he moved up to fourth place on lap 20, after overtaking both riders in quick succession. He held on to fourth place for the remainder of the race and had to uphold a solid pace to cross the line 0.727s ahead of his teammate and 14.253s from first.
Rossi started the German GP from ninth and quickly moved up to sixth. He was on a charge towards the front group of five riders that had formed on the first lap. The Italian was under pressure from Cal Crutchlow, yet he held firm, meanwhile closing the gap to Jorge Lorenzo in fifth on the sixth lap. Closely shadowed by Dovizioso, the Doctor took hold of fifth place a lap later, before he got caught up in a battle with his compatriot. Again, the Doctor was unwilling to hand over his position for any longer than a few seconds, whilst he also passed Petrucci for fourth place.
With a clear track ahead of him, the nine-time World Champion put his head down to try to decrease the over a three-second gap to the rider in third place. He was eager to reel in his rival, but had to focus on keeping Dovizioso at bay, as well as his teammate. Ultimately, he had to let Viñales pass and together the factory Yamaha riders cruised towards the chequered flag, with Rossi taking solid points as he secured fifth place, 14.980s from the front.
Viñales’ fourth place keeps him in second position in the rider standings with 124 points, 5 points ahead of teammate Rossi, with 119 points, who is in fourth place. The solid results keep Yamaha in the lead in the Constructor Championship with a 18-point margin, while the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team holds first place in the team standings by 11 points.
The Yamaha family would like to congratulate Monster Yamaha Tech3's Jonas Folger on his superb second place at his home Grand Prix today. He holds second place in the 2017 Independent Team Rider standings and the 2017 Rookie of the Year classification behind his teammate Johann Zarco, who also made a strong impression over the first half of the 2017 season.
MotoGP will be taking a four-week summer break before continuing the championship battle at the Automotodrom Brno in the Czech Republic from August 4-6th.
I'm really confident about the championship. Starting from eleventh and in the end arriving in P4 losing a lot of time overtaking riders, I was still quite close to Dani, so that means we really did a good job during the whole race. My impressions of the race are good, we did a good job to recover the maximum number of positions, which today was to fourth. We are quite happy, we know we still need to improve the bike, but overall it was quite nice. After Assen being in second place is positive, but compared to after Mugello it isn't as positive because we were creating a gap in the standings. We suffered a lot in Montmeló and made a mistake in Assen, but overall it's quite good, even with the mistakes we are still at the front. To continue like that we need to work a little bit more, especially in qualifying and preparing better for the race. It's all in our hands to try to make it better. I will try to improve my riding style and to come back stronger and fitter, so a one-month break will be good.
It was a difficult weekend, because we suffered a lot, like we had done at other tracks this year, but fortunately we were able to work better. The race was not so bad, because I kept a good pace going from the beginning until the end. I’m happy when I fight for the podium, but still this fifth place is quite good, these are good points for the championship and we are just ten points from the top, so I think the championship is still very much open. I think I will relax for two weeks now and, after two weeks of staying with my friends and recharging my batteries, I will start to train because we have arrive in Brno ready, at a 100% fitness level.
We knew that today’s race at the Sachsenring was going to be a tough one, but we were up for the challenge. Though the skies were again looking threatening at the start of the race, we were fairly certain it was going to be a dry race, which were the conditions our riders preferred for today’s 30-lap dash. Our target was to take as many points as possible and both riders stuck to their goals. Maverick and Vale both rode a good race, and went all out to secure important points for the championship, because the standings are very close. Maverick did a good job, especially in the second half of the race as he cut through the field from eleventh to fourth place. Valentino started the race really well but, by the time he was in fourth place, unfortunately the front three riders were already too far ahead. He did everything he could to defend his position from multiple chasing riders for as long as he could and took solid points in the end. The first half of the season has been very exciting, with close battles, involving many riders and manufacturers. With hard work from the team and the riders, we’ve so far scored four wins and eight podium places. Now we look forward to the summer break. Over the next four weeks we will recharge our batteries before we continue the championship fight in the Czech Republic.