Yamaha MotoGP‘s Valentino Rossi fought hard today to take a well-deserved third place at a slightly overcast Sachsenring.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Valentino Rossi did a perfect job to extend his championship lead, scoring a strong third place at today‘s Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland. Teammate Jorge Lorenzo also gave the German race fans their money‘s worth with some thrilling racing action and ended the day in fourth.
Rossi started the German GP from sixth and quickly moved up to fifth. The Italian needed a little time to overtake Andrea Iannone, but succeeded as he completed the first lap and then set his sights on Dani Pedrosa. Rossi picked up his pace by temporarily signing a new lap record to his name, but received a stern warning when his rear wheel snaked.
The perfect way to describe the race is that “I tried to beat Dani”.
The Italian did well to hold on to the bike but didn‘t let it slow him down. Instead he set another fastest time on lap four and slipped past Dani Pedrosa one lap later. Rossi slotted in behind teammate Lorenzo and briefly took second in turn 12, but he had to give back the position at the next corner. It took the championship leader another lap to overtake his teammate and make it stick, before he could focus on reeling in Marquez, but the Spaniard had already pulled away too much.
Meanwhile Pedrosa started closing in. Rossi kept him at bay for six laps before he was pushed back to third on lap 17. Rossi did all he could to stay in contention for second place, but with four laps to go the distance between himself and Pedrosa had become too big to bridge. Rossi realized his ninth podium finish of the season in third place, 5.608s from first place.
Teammate Lorenzo rocketed off the grid and surprised both fans and his competitors with his trademark ’Por Fuera‘ (on the outside) overtaking move to take over the lead. He pushed hard at the start of the race to extend his advantage, but was closely followed by Marquez. Four laps into the race the order shifted, Marquez moved ahead with 26 laps to go, forcing Lorenzo to endure pressure off teammate Rossi, who was on the back of his rear wheel.
He held off an attack from Rossi in turn 12 two laps later, taking him back in the very next corner, but by lap seven he had to return the position. Lorenzo kept his head down, in an effort to hold off Pedrosa, but he had to relinquish his podium hopes on lap 14 when he dropped back to fourth, which he held over the line after a lonely ride, 9.928s from the front.
Rossi‘s third place keeps him in first position in the world standings with 179 points, 13 points ahead of teammate Lorenzo, with 166 points, who stays in second place with a 48 points gap to his closest rival.
MotoGP will be taking a four week summer break before continuing the season at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on the 9th of August.
"First of all, the podium is always good, but you always want to arrive better than third. For this weekend I think third was the maximum we could reach, because Marquez was stronger than us. The important thing was to arrive in front of Jorge for the championship. I think we did a very good race, because we worked very well and from the warm up to the race my bike was good and I could push a lot. It may only be three points more that we scored, but it‘s still another podium and I extended the lead a little bit.
The perfect way to describe the race is that “I tried to beat Dani”. I tried, but on the last laps he was too fast for me. However it was also good for me, because he allowed me to get away from Jorge, just his slipstream helped me a lot. I tried to stay with Pedrosa for ten laps, because I knew that it was key on gaining some time on Jorge.
Today‘s third place is crucial because Jorge arrived here with four victories in a row, where he gained 28 points, so it was a very important win in Assen and also to arrive in front of him here, so we extend the lead to 13 points. Now I need two weeks off, because I have worked very hard for this championship. I haven't had a holiday since the beginning of February. It‘s been all work; going to the gym, ride the motorbike, train. Now it‘s time to relax."
"At a difficult track for rear grip I could still ride some good lap times and be in first position. In the end, the only good thing was my good start and that, after a bad race, we only lost three points. When I started losing the rear and I had a lot of problems picking up the bike with good drive and on braking the rear didn‘t support the front enough to stop the bike and I had to start braking earlier and earlier. This made it very difficult to keep up the pace. I regret not trying a shorter bike in the warm up, that would probably have given me more traction and grip on the rear. Now it's too late, but as I said, we lost only three points and that‘s not so bad for the championship."
Massimo Meregalli - Team Director: "We knew that Sachsenring was going to be a tough race, however the target was to take as many points as possible as always. Both riders made a good race today, and did everything they could to secure important points for the championship. Valentino fought his hardest to hold on to the podium spot, the position was well deserved. Jorge started the race really strongly, and did everything he could to keep the front runners as close as possible when he knew a podium wasn't possible. After a long first half of the season with fantastic results and victories and so much hard work by the team and riders we are going to have a well-deserved break, and we will be back to continue our title fight in a few weeks time at Indianapolis."