Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi stormed to their second consecutive double podium of the season in round two of the MotoGP World Championship at the Termas Río Hondo Circuit.
Termas de Rio Hondo (Argentina), 9 April 2017: The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team gave an astounding performance in today‘s Gran Premio Motul de la República Argentina, securing an immaculate 1-2 finish. Maverick Viñales was in a league of his own in the 25-lap sprint, as he flew from sixth on the grid to first place. Valentino Rossi was a man with a plan for his 350th Grand Prix start and was in hot pursuit, to ultimately secure a brilliant second place.
The Repsol Honda Team suffered a double DNF today in the Argentine GP, which saw seven different riders crash of the race. Pole-sitter Marc Marquez fell in turn 2 on the fourth lap while leading by two seconds over fellow Honda rider Cal Crutchlow, who finished in a positive third position. At the time of his crash, Marquez was pushing hard to try and pull a gap on the chasing group, adds Repsol Honda.
Dani Pedrosa overtook Johan Zarco and Danilo Petrucci for fourth place and was increasing his pace (recording the second-fastest lap of the race on lap 13, in 1’39.740”), when he too went down in turn 2, on lap 14.
Fortunately, both riders escaped unharmed and are looking forward to the next round in Austin (Texas, USA) in two weeks’ time.
Viñales stormed off the line from the second row and soon muscled his way to third place, putting pressure on Cal Crutchlow in second. He attacked in turn 7 on lap 3 and soon after took over the lead as Marc Marquez crashed out of the race.
Now at the front, with a clear track as far as the eye could see, the Spaniard put his head down and pulled away from the field. He was completely in his element and rode a faultless race, steadily increasing the gap to the pursuing riders. The 22-year-old crossed the line with a healthy 2.915s lead, securing his second consecutive victory on the Yamaha with ease.
This amazing achievement not only makes Viñales the first Yamaha rider since Wayne Rainey in 1990 to win the first two races of the season, but it also brings Yamaha‘s Grand Prix win tally up to 499 victories in total.
Rossi had a brilliant start from seventh, entering the first corner side by side with Viñales to exit it in sixth place. He soon flew past Dani Pedrosa and Karel Abraham with the intention to stick to the rear wheel of his teammate. With Marquez out of the race on lap 4, the Italian moved up to third and felt the lure of a second place.
With sixteen laps to go he dipped under the 1‘40s mark and closed right up to Crutchlow. As the riders behind them got involved in a scrap and were unable to match the pace of the three riders at the front, the Doctor had a comfortable margin of close to 5 seconds, allowing him to focus on the battle to come. The nine-time World Champion sized up the Brit carefully, choosing the best place and time to make a move.
With seven laps remaining, Rossi made a pass in turn 5 and made it stick. He followed it up with a couple of low 1‘40s laps to inch away from Crutchlow, making it a perfect Yamaha 1-2, the first since the Grand Prix of Le Mans in 2016, when he took the chequered flag 2.915s behind his teammate.
Today‘s dream results see Viñales hold the lead in the championship standings with 50 points, closely followed by Rossi in second position with 36 points. Yamaha remains in the lead in the Constructors‘ Championship with a maximum of 50 points, while the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team lead the way in the Team Championship with 86 points, 59 points ahead of Monster Yamaha Tech3 in second place.
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team will be back in action in two weeks’ time at the Circuit Of The Americas in Austin, Texas, in the United States.
Maverick Vinales said: We did a great job. We made the tyre decision already this morning. I feel really great! The tyre‘s grip level was really good the entire time. I feel pretty strong and Michelin is doing a great job, I feel really happy and confident. It‘s like we are in a dream. I have to say thanks to the team, they are doing a great job, so let‘s continue like that.
Valentina Rossi about his 350th race and the podium: My mechanic, Brent, said to me on the grid “It‘s the 350th, try to make it a good race”. I‘m happy, because I was competitive today from the first to the last lap. I felt better physically and I trained hard so I felt good on the bike and I could push throughout the whole race. I feel that my concentration is good and also the battle with Cal was good also, because I was able to beat him. Unfortunately, Maverick was a bit faster, but this result is really important for me and the whole team, a Yamaha 1-2 is great! I don‘t think the results would have been different if I‘d passed Cal earlier in the race. Looking at the lap times, Maverick was a bit stronger and that‘s just the way it is today. This track is always tricky, also in the past we saw a lot of problems. Bumps and slipperiness and it also rained yesterday, so you have to pay attention and you also have to be lucky. For us this is good, because we took some important points for the championship and I also felt really good with the bike today.
eom/Movistar Yamaha press release