Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi highlighted why he is the most successful rider at Circuito de Jerez 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 with 1:40.090 and created a 0.7-second gap over 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 chequered flag 2.386 seconds ahead of his closest rival and took home his 113th career victory.
Rivalry still obvious
Lorenzo had a strong start and tucked in behind teammate 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 No. 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.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director Massimo Meregalli said, “It was an incredible grand prix for the whole team. We finished a perfect weekend in first and second place and led almost all the session. What we accomplished here is an important result, especially because of the significant gap to the other manufacturers at what is one of the home grands prixs of our title sponsor, Movistar. Valentino has been strong since Friday and we are thrilled for him to take home such a stunning victory. He had a good start and rode a perfect race and led from the first to the last lap without making any mistakes.”
“He did everything right and fully deserved this win. It was unfortunate that Jorge was slowed down by wheel spin towards the end of the race, because he was also looking very strong, especially at the start and also just after the mid-way point of the race. He again showed that he is an incredible professional and clever rider to be able to ride around the problem and take home valuable points for the championship. I want to thank the entire team staff who made this result possible. Now we have a few hours to enjoy today’s achievements and then we will focus on tomorrow’s test,” Meregalli added.
Rossi, for his part said, “I think that this was the perfect weekend. We started to go faster from Friday morning and we worked very well. The bike, in the race, was fantastic and we worked very well with the team so I have to say “thank you” to the whole Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team, especially my crew. I had a good pace and a good start and felt good with the bike from the beginning, so I could push. Sincerely, it was a special taste to have a win like this, so thanks a lot!”