The Doctor performs a Misano miracle
The many thousand Valentino Rossi fans gathered at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli had their dreams come true today as their Movistar Yamaha MotoGP hero delivered a perfect race to take victory for the 'Gran Premio di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini'. Teammate Jorge Lorenzo came home in second to make it a perfect Yamaha one-two finish.
The Doctor made his intentions clear from the off with a flying start to move up from third to second into the first corner, tucked in behind teammate Lorenzo. An early attack by rival Marc Marquez was quickly dealt with and then with 25 laps to go he was able to pass Lorenzo to lead the race. Championship leader Marquez followed soon after and remained within half a second of Rossi until with 19 laps remaining he lost the front trying to keep up and crashed out, taking himself out of contention.
From that point the Doctor was unstoppable, building a gap of over two seconds to his chasing teammate, he held command of the race to the finish line to take his first race win since Assen last year, and Yamaha’s first MotoGP win of the season.
Teammate Lorenzo flew from his pole position on the grid to grab the holeshot into turn one, with Rossi following right behind. Having opted for the harder front tire option he was unable to make a break and hold off Rossi in the early laps. Having seen rival Marquez crash out in front of him he then delivered a trademark Lorenzo race of consistency, holding his lap times a little over two seconds behind Rossi whilst gradually building a gap to Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso battling for third behind him. He crossed the finish line over four seconds ahead of them to take his seventh podium of the season and complete the Yamaha one-two finish.
Rossi’s 25 point score adds to his total to make him the first MotoGP rider ever to reach over 5,000 career championship points. He now sits on 214 in third position in the standings, just a single point behind Pedrosa in second. Lorenzo takes 20 points to bring him to a total of 177 in fourth position, 35 ahead of Dovizioso in fifth.
1st / 44'14.586 / 28 laps
“I’m very happy for sure because it’s very special to win here in Misano in front of all the crowd and my family and friends. I’m very proud. I made it five years after the last time here, in the same way, fighting with Jorge. During the practice it looked like our Yamaha worked very well so we had a small advantage. I tried to the maximum and so I knew we could fight for victory, I knew for sure I would have to battle with Dani and Jorge and Marc. I tried to push from the start and at the end it was great to have the win more than one year later from my last. I always work hard and never give up and trust that days like this can happen. I have to say thank you to Yamaha, to all my team, to all my friends and all the crowd who support me, especially here in Misano.”
2nd / +1.578 / 28 laps
“It’s been a tough race for me because we finally took a risk with the harder tire. I’m happy with another podium but a bit disappointed because we thought we could fight for the victory. Right at the beginning, despite a good start I felt the front tire didn’t give me the confidence to lean and also on braking. In Brno we risked also changing the tire and the result was good but here we struggled much more. For me it was impossible to get the victory. Even if I tried to push at the maximum, when I saw Marc crash, I knew Valentino had a better pace today. Valentino had a perfect weekend at home and he deserved the win, it’s unbelievable at the age of 35! I’m also happy for the team because it’s been a long time without a 1-2. All the Yamaha guys are working really well and the bike is more competitive race by race. I would like to win too but we will have to wait.”
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
“I think we did an awesome job, we didn't start the weekend properly on Friday and struggled a lot. When the sunshine came out, we immediately sensed that Sunday was possibly going to be our day. The pace we showed on Saturday and in this morning’s warm up were a good signal. For me Vale made an impressive race, he put a lot of pressure on Marc, he crashed as he was trying so hard, but I think today Vale was unbeatable. Jorge chose a hard front tire as yesterday he had a really good feeling with it. The circumstances were ok for that tire spec but it didn't work as he hoped. In the end first and second is an amazing result, I need to thank everybody, from the first to the last team member, we worked hard all season, unfortunately we couldn’t win before but for sure we are going to taste this victory today as we deserve to.”
Espargaro and Smith blaze to strong finishes at Misano
Pol Espargaro produced a mature and inspired ride to finish in sixth position in his first encounter of the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli aboard his Yamaha YZR-M1. The young Spaniard started round 13 of the MotoGP World Championship in a highly impressive manner by surging to second position in the warm up, having just been beaten to the top spot in the dying seconds by Valentino Rossi. This left the rookie highly optimistic and ready for the 28 lap battle at the 4226 meter circuit which he began from seventh on the grid. As the lights flicked to green, Espargaro launched off the start line with promising speed and he completed the first lap in sixth position before setting his fastest time of the race on his second lap. Right from the beginning of the 28 lap race, the Spanish rookie was able to build up a gap over the pack and with the lap numbers falling, Espargaro managed to maintain this placement until the finish flag. His capture of more valuable championship points lifts him back up to sixth in the standings after another impressive ride in his debut season in MotoGP.
On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 garage, Bradley Smith battled in the highly competitive field to finish in seventh position after a grueling yet rewarding race at Misano. The young British rider started the day by beginning the race from ninth on the grid in ideal weather conditions at the San Marino circuit. Smith completed the first lap in eighth place, as he aimed to ascend up the field and make ground on the factory bikes. Unfortunately, the British star made a slight mistake going into turn seven on lap two, which caused him to slip back two positions. Yet, the 23-year-old illustrated his determination to aggressively fight back to eigth only three laps later and proceeded to set his fastest time of the race on lap 8 whilst he intended to make ground on the rider in front. Smith’s consistency and seamless performance saw him catching up a further position before the fall of the finish flag. It was a positive result after the previous two rounds which gives him a boost of confidence before he heads to Aragon in two weeks time.
6th / +18.999 / 28 laps
“To be honest I can't help but be slightly disappointed, although not about the result itself but about how the race went as I truly expected to be more competitive. With two dry sessions less than usual, we went into the unknown a bit and for sure the warmer temperatures were not ideal for the setup which we decided on. We chose to race the softer Bridgestone tire and it would have probably been better to go for the harder compound considering the conditions this afternoon, but after the race it is easy to say so. However, we still managed to finish the race in sixth position and collect valuable points for the Championship which helped me to take sixth back from my brother and that is a really good feeling ahead of our next race in Aragon.”
7th / +23.100 / 28 laps
“Even though seventh is not where I intend to be, it’s definitely positive after the challenging past two Grand Prix’s. Still, I am a little disappointed with the mistake I made on the second lap as I went into turn 7 where I just out braked myself and lost two places. Later on, I recovered these positions, but the group of Pedrosa, the two Ducati’s and Pol were out of my reach plus with the lap times so close here it was difficult to come back. I tried to catch Pol but then I realized I wasn’t going to be able to get on the back of him, so instead of risking my point scoring position, I played it safe so that I could learn as much as possible and gather important data which we will use in Aragon. Considering how tough the weekend was here last year, the performance this time is a significant improvement but I want to be fighting for fifth. Therefore, there’s some more work to be done, but the team did a great job after a tricky Friday and now we will push onwards to close in on the Ducati’s.”
Good 14th place for De Angelis in front of the home crowd. Unlucky race for Espargaro
It was a race two sides for the NGM Forward Racing Team at Misano with Alex De Angelis finishing 14th in front of his home crowd, while it was an unlucky race for Aleix Espargaro, who crashed on the very last lap when he was in eighth place.
Started from the third row, the Spaniard pushed hard from the beginning as he is used to do, but from the first laps on he realized that there was something wrong with the rear. The bike was moving a lot and he lost some positions. Despite struggling a lot with the rear, he was able to recover in the second part of the race. He was in eighth position on the last lap, when he suddenly lost the rear with no warning and crashed, fortunately without consequences.
It was a good race for Alex De Angelis, who finished 14th in front of the 55,000 spectators (over 88,000 in the weekend) who attended the San Marino and the Riviera of Rimini Grand Prix. Despite a painful wrist, he was able to manage the race and get some good points for the championship.
With today’s result, Espargaro leaves Misano in seventh position in the championship but he is confident to recover in Aragon in two weeks time.
Alex De Angelis
14th / +1'13.546 / 28 laps
“I’m happy because I could manage my rhythm throughout the whole race. Despite a painful wrist and the issues we had under braking, I tried to stay with Redding and recover positions. I pushed but I didn’t want to take too many risks as the priority was to finish the race and get some points, so I’m satisfied. Now it’s important to recover with the wrist to arrive in Aragon in the best shape."
DNF, 27 laps
“Since the beginning of the race I realized that there was something wrong with the rear. I had less grip than this morning in the warm up and I struggled a lot. I managed to stay in eighth position but on the very last lap I suddenly lost the rear without warning. I’m really sorry.”