Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP rider Maverick Viñales returned to the podium at the Gran Premio de España, fending off challenges to claim third place.
“To be on the podium feels like a victory to me,” Viñales said. “I saw that Dovi and Petrucci were behind me, together, so I thought ‘Dovi is going to push, so it’s going to be difficult,’ so I just tried to do my best laps and ride the best sectors I could. Honestly, it was difficult because I had just a little bit of tire left at the end. I don’t know if I could have done more laps like that last lap, but I’m happy because the bike was good at the end.
“It was very important to demonstrate that we could be there. We recovered a lot of confidence, especially with the front tire. We’ve done something different on the bike, that gives me more consistency at the start so I can be much more precise. I’m really happy because we didn’t lose any positions at the start, we even gained one, and then another during the race. We’ve been working really good during the whole weekend. After FP3 we were out of Q2, which means that, since then, we’ve improved the bike quite a lot. Today was a good test to see where we are. It’s important that we weren’t so far from the front in the end. The most important thing is to be on the podium consistently. If we give our best, I think I can arrive at the top, but honestly there’s no time to relax.”
After starting 13th, Valentino Rossi carved through the field for a sixth-place finish.
“I did a good start, but at the beginning I didn’t have enough pace to overtake, but on the second half of the race I was good. I was stronger and my pace wasn’t too bad, good enough to overtake, go, and take some points, which are good for the championship. I think that if I had started more towards the front I could have stayed with the front group, around where Maverick was. The pace of today’s race was very, very fast. I was like 25 seconds faster than my race last year, the gap to first position is less, I felt more comfortable on the bike, and especially on the last lap I was fast. Now we have to concentrate on the next few races.”
Rossi is now fourth in the championship standings, while Viñales jumped up to sixth.
The next race on the MotoGP calendar is May 19’s Grand Prix de France at Le Mans.