Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales was battling for a podium finish at the Grand Prix of Japan but ultimately came up just shy of his second straight rostrum, settling for fourth at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit.
Teammate Valentino Rossi was working his way through the field when a small crash on Lap 21 ended his day early.
Maverick Viñales: “Actually, for me it was a very positive race. At the start I did a lot of fighting with Cal and Dovi. I tried to overtake quickly, but it was very difficult. At the end I found a very good rhythm on the last laps, trying to fight for the podium with Dovi, but somehow I couldn’t overtake. We made the most of our bike in this race and we’ll try to do more in Australia. I will do my best in Phillip Island, I will try to push and start from the front row, I think that’s very important. If we had started from first row today, we might have been able to fight for the race. We need to keep working, we’re very close, we just need a little bit more, which we’ll find for sure. Phillip Island is a track I really like, but anyway I will go there with the same expectations as I had for here, trying to work very hard and to be on the podium again.”
Valentino Rossi: “I had quite a bad start, not in the first corner but after that I was in the middle of the chaos and lost time. My pace wasn’t good enough to gain positions fast. I managed to recover a few, but I wasn’t very strong. On some laps my pace wasn’t so bad, but everybody was fast, so that made it very difficult to challenge from behind. I haven‘t seen the data yet, but I think I made a small mistake at the end, in Turn 1, and I crashed. It was a difficult race.”
Viñales and Rossi will be back in action at the Phillip Island circuit for the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix on Oct. 27.