Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales was on the hunt during the GP di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini. He spent almost the entire race positioned in third place, stalking the front runners, but came just short to enter the challenge. The stakes were high for Valentino Rossi at his home race at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. He had to make his way through the rider field, starting from P7, and pushed to the fullest to take fourth position. Viñales stuck to his plan at the start of the San Marino GP. Starting from P1, the Spaniard had said yesterday that his strategy was not to leave any door open on the first corners on the opening lap. He did just that but didn‘t manage to break away. On lap 3 he had to relinquish the lead to fellow Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo, and one lap later also Marc Marquez came past.
The Factory Yamaha rider couldn‘t match the early pace as he didn‘t have a good feeling with the front, but he wasn‘t out for the count. He waited for the race to come to him and started to make up some ground after lap 14. He was inching closer but struggled to reduce the gap to under 2s until the final five laps. With the two leading men occupied with their own battle, the number-12 rider was riding on the limit. He came under 0.8s behind Quartararo but wasn‘t able to put in a move. Viñales took the chequered flag in third place, 1.636s from the front.
Rossi knew the first couple of tight corners at the Misano track would be crucial as 22 MotoGP bikes tried to squeeze through. The Italian had a good start from P7 and was immediately up to speed. He held his position and was chasing Álex Rins, eager to make his way to the front. The Doctor moved up a spot as the Spanish rider went wide on lap 6. It was the starting signal for the home hero‘s climb up the order.
Cheered on by the fans, he worked his way up to fifth, overtaking Pol Espargaró on lap 7, and followed it up with a personal best time on lap 9 as he was looking for a way through on Franco Morbidelli. However, the twisty Misano lay-out meant the Doctor had to be smart about where to position his Factory Yamaha to get on the inside. With eleven laps to go, he put in a move which didn‘t stick, but a text-book block pass on that same lap in Turn 14 did the trick, earning him fourth place. Rossi then had to use all his knowledge of his home circuit and make his YZR-M1 as wide as possible to keep Morbidelli at bay, and he succeeded. He held on to fourth place over the line, with a 12.660s gap to first.
Today’s third place sees Viñales stay fifth in the championship standings, one place ahead of Rossi, with five points between them. Yamaha remains third in the constructor standings, and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP also stays in third place in the team classification.
Viñales and Rossi will now travel to Spain for the Gran Premio Michelin de Aragon, held from September 20-22.