Jorge Lorenzo gave his all to keep up his strong record at Misano, but suffered a crash on cold tyres after having just switched bikes for a second time.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Valentino Rossi took home solid points after a difficult race in today‘s 'Grand Prix di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini'. Teammate Jorge Lorenzo had a strong pace but got caught out by the tricky conditions and was unable to complete the race.
The Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli was a sea of yellow as thousands of fans cheered on their local hero, Valentino Rossi, to take fifth in a drama-filled 'Gran Premio di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini'. Movistar Yamaha MotoGP teammate Jorge Lorenzo gave his all to keep up his strong record at Misano, but suffered a crash on cold tyres after having just switched bikes for a second time.
Despite threatening clouds and spots of rain, the Doctor flew off the line at the start of the 28-lap sprint and held third position going into the first corner. He held Dani Pedrosa at bay as he chased teammate Lorenzo and rival Marc Marquez. Trying to keep in contention with the front group, he closed the gap when he set a fastest lap of the race thus far of 1‘33.894 on lap three.
There are still five races left and unfortunately Lorenzo has the ability to win at every single one and Marquez is also always strong,
Rossi caught up with the race leaders as rain started to fall and joined them going into the pits on lap seven, to reenter the track in seventh place. Two laps later all riders had come in to switch bikes, restoring the order to Rossi riding in third place as he hunted down Marquez and Lorenzo for the lead.
Lapping more than a second quicker he used all his experience in tricky conditions and with 17 laps to go was right on their rear tyres. He overtook Marquez on the next lap, while a dry line started to form. On lap 15 the Doctor decided to make his move on Lorenzo and had the fans jumping to their feet when he led the race for the first time, but there was more drama on its way.
The track had dried up and several riders started to switch back to a bike with a dry set up. The Italian hero decided to stay out as long as possible and pushed to the maximum to create a margin between him and his teammate. He was the last rider to come in for a second bike swap after 20 laps and rejoined the track in fifth place. He was eager to ride back to a podium finish but was unable to close the gap to the rider in fourth place and finished the race in fifth, +33.196s from the front.
Teammate Lorenzo had a lightning fast start from pole position as the lights went out and grabbed the holeshot. With a clear track in front of him, he tried to shake off rival Marquez and teammate Rossi and put the hammer down, consistently lowering his times. Lapping in the low 1‘33s he opened up a nearly one second gap, until the rain flags were being waved on lap six.
As the pace dropped noticeably, the leading trio decided to come in on lap seven and Lorenzo rejoined the track in fifth place, ahead of Marquez. As the race order was restored one lap later, the Majorcan was clever to ride behind Marquez while testing the conditions, until his rival went wide and he reclaimed the lead.
Lorenzo continued to give his all but had to let his teammate pass on lap 15 when his wet tyres started to drop on the drying asphalt. Rubber was flying off Lorenzo‘s front tyre as he came in with eight laps to go and he reentered the race in fourth place. He was motivated to make his way back to the front and pushed hard, but got caught out by the tricky conditions in turn 15 and was unable to continue the race.
Rossi‘s 11-point score increases his points total to 247 points as he holds the championship lead. Despite not taking home any points, Lorenzo still holds second position with 224 points, 23 points behind his teammate.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3‘s Bradley Smith did well to finish the race in second place and scored 20 points, giving Yamaha a 57-point lead in the Constructors Championship standings.
Valentino Rossi: "It‘s true that the championship is a lot more important that winning this race, it‘s the main target. Unfortunately Jorge crashed and I was able to gain another 11-points. This is good for the championship, but it‘s a shame to miss out on the podium, because I wanted to arrive in the top three in front of all the spectators. It was a crazy race and when you have to change the bike, in this case twice, you need luck and rapid thinking to understand the situation.
Fifth is still a good result and we‘re looking forward to the next race in Aragon. There are still five races left and unfortunately Lorenzo has the ability to win at every single one and Marquez is also always strong, so there are still a lot of points left to fight for. Aragon is always a difficult track, but we did some tests there and my lap times weren‘t so bad, so we have to try to do a good race and arrive on the podium."
Jorge Lorenzo: "Two races with bad luck in a row, because the circumstances were wet and abnormal. In Silverstone I didn‘t have the confidence and here I didn‘t have the pace to warm up the tyre well, so I entered the corner with slicks that were still cold and lost the rear. I think I‘ve been unlucky this year in general, but especially these last two races, because I could have won both or finished second, but that‘s racing. In previous years, my rivals in the championship crashed and this year it‘s me who‘s unlucky, but all is not lost. If I win all the coming races I can still become the World Champion and it wouldn‘t matter in what position Valentino would finish in."
Massimo Meregalli - Team Director: "It was clear from the start of the race that the weather was going to play a big factor. As always the team did a great job to give both Vale and Jorge the best possible set up for the race, but the weather changed just before the start, making the tyre choice and the strategy a real gamble. Vale lost some time at the beginning, but did well to keep his head cool despite the chaos. Deciding on when to come in is always a very tough call to make when you are leading the race, especially when you have the championship to think of.
He gambled on changing to slicks a lap later than Jorge so it was a challenge for him to come back. It‘s a shame that Jorge was caught out by the tricky conditions, as he looked very impressive all weekend. Luckily he was not seriously injured, considering the high speed crash. I am sure he'll be back in perfect form in two week‘s time. Today‘s results don‘t represent what we would have been capable of, had the weather been more consistent. We‘ll put this weekend behind us now and we look forward to the next round in Aragon."