Rossi Seals Superb Spanish Victory
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Valentino Rossi highlighted why he is the most successful rider at Circuito de Jerez today and rode one of the strongest races of his career to receive a standing ovation as he jumped onto the top step of the podium for the Gran Premio de España.
Jorge Lorenzo also put in a stunning effort under the Andalusian sunshine and made it a perfect 1-2 for the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team.
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team dominated the scenes in Spain as Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo set off from first and second place of the grid. They didn't relinquish the first two places once to any other riders and gave Yamaha a perfect one-two podium.
Starting from pole the nine-time world champion had a strong start and took the holeshot with his team-mate following his every move like a shadow. Two laps of tense racing action followed as they pushed each other to the limit. Rossi tried to make his YZR-M1 as wide as possible as Lorenzo tried to steal the lead. He had a brief success, but Rossi immediately responded. Realizing the threat that was coming from behind, the Doctor dropped the fastest lap of the race on lap three, a 1'40.090s, and created a 0.7s gap to his pursuers. With clear track in front of him and behind him, Rossi put the hammer down and checked out.
Determined to look after his tires, the Italian lowered his pace a little in the final stages of the race, yet made sure to keep enough space between him and Lorenzo by responding in the right moments. He finished his lonely ride by taking the checkered flag 2.386s ahead his closest rival and took home his 113th career victory.
Teammate Lorenzo had a strong start and tucked in behind team-mate Rossi in second place. The local hero is known for being strong on the opening lap and built on the pressure on his fellow Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider. He was eager to find a way past the number 46 rider after a few attempts that weren't to last, but soon he had to focus on protecting his second place from a fast approaching Marc Marquez.
However, the race was far from over. With 10 laps to go Lorenzo was able to turn the tables on Rossi and started to close down the margin. It looked like a second battle for the win was about to take place when suddenly the Spaniard suffered from wheel spin on the long straight just as he started to reel in his team-mate. Keeping his head cool, Lorenzo finished the race calmly and secured his 100th premier class podium.
Rossi remains in third position with his first place podium finish, now on 58 points and seven points behind Lorenzo, who is in second place with a total of 65 points, 17 behind the leader in the championship standings.
The Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro pulled off another solid performance today to clinch 8th in Andalucía. The 25 year old kicked off the fight from the third row on the grid and leapt forward when the lights went out before completing the opening lap one place higher. He quickly set into his formidable race pace and by the mid point of the GP, he remained in 7th. The Spaniard kept pushing but despite his best efforts, he was overtaken by the Factory Ducati of Andrea Iannone in the final third of the race. Nevertheless, he comfortably finished ahead of the pursuing riders in 8th in what was his fourth top ten result this season. Now, Espargaro confidently looks on to the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team's home Grand Prix in a fortnight's time.
Meanwhile, Bradley Smith gave his all today after a tricky qualifying campaign and he met the checkered flag in the race in 12th position. The young Briton launched from the middle of the fifth row of the grid and whilst muscling his way around the track, he was pushed back to 15th by the close of the first lap. However, he dug deep as he intended to rise through the field and by lap 10 he snatched 12th. His progress continued and he opened a gap to the pack behind before powering to the end in this position. The 25 year old will use the test day tomorrow at the Jerez circuit as an opportunity to improve so that he can repeat his 2015 form at Le Mans, the next round of the MotoGP World Championship.