Felice Monteleone – FMPhotoSport News
MovieStar Yamaha MotoGP – Circuit of the Americas (Austin, Texax – USA), 12th April 2015
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi secured a third place today at the Grand Prix of the Americas. Teammate Lorenzo also rode a strong race, despite not feeling at his hundred per cent due to illness, and finished fourth.
The weekend at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) has been full of surprises and the race day was no exception. Though the weather was bright and sunny, the race was delayed at the last minute before the warm-up lap due to water spillage at turn three. The clean up process postponed the proceedings by 37 minutes, but the race remained its original distance of 21 laps.
Starting from fourth on the grid, Rossi quickly moved up to third and got involved in a fight for the lead with rivals Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso. Putting pressure on him on lap seven, the Italians swapped places several times in a hard battle for second place before the nine-time World Champion shook off his compatriot one lap later. He then tried to hunt down race leader Marc Marquez, but was unable to close the gap and got wrapped up in a second scrap with Dovizioso, six laps from the end. Rossi dropped back to one place but kept pushing to the maximum. However, a worn out front tyre prevented him from taking his position back. He crossed the finish line in third place, +3.120s from the front, retaining his lead in the championship.
Teammate Lorenzo had a perfect launch off the line but got caught up in a cluster of riders when he arrived at the first corner and fell back to fifth place. While fighting to close down the gap to the leading group, he came under pressure by Andrea Iannone. The Spaniard was forced to let him pass, but he didn‘t give up. Riding in sixth place, he followed him to the front of the field and soon closed in on Bradley Smith. On the tenth lap he smoothly passed the Brit and continued his stride to the front. He charged up to Iannone with four laps to go and used the nimble YZR-M1 to the fullest with a smooth pass to claim fourth place one lap later. With a 2.705s gap to his teammate, he focused his attention on managing the gap to the rider behind him and held his place to the line, +6.682s behind the leader.
Today‘s results deliver Rossi 16 points, keeping him at the top of the championship standings with 41 points. Lorenzo increased his point count to 26 in total. He currently holds fifth place in the standings.
46 – Valentino Rossi – 3rd / +3.120 / 21 laps
“I‘m happy about the weekend, because getting onto the podium is a good objective when coming here. On paper this track is the worst for our bike. I am satisfied about the weekend as a whole because we were always in the top 4-5 and we also weren‘t so bad on the wet. For it to be perfect I would have had to beat Dovizioso, but unfortunately he was a bit faster. I didn‘t have a chance to try, also because after six or seven laps of pushing a lot, I had to ride very smooth. For some reason our bike destroyed the front tyre. It‘s been like this in 2013 and last year, but this year, fortunately, Bridgestone brought a harder front. That helped me to arrive at the end of the race, but the tyre was still damaged. Dovi said to me that we risked a lot overtaking in turn 12. From the bike I didn‘t feel it and I thought we had some margin. We passed each other very closely, but there was enough space.”
99 – Jorge Lorenzo – 4th / +6.682 / 21 laps
“It was a very tough race, because physically I wasn‘t feeling good due to the bronchitis and the antibiotics. We finished the race in the best way possible given the circumstances. I wasn‘t fit and the bike also needed some extra performance on some areas of the track, especially on the straight I lost a lot. Here and in Qatar two problems occurred that were difficult to overcome but we saved the situations the best we could. I will probably be fit in Argentina. Last year I rode a good race there while I wasn‘t in the best condition. Now that the bike is working better, I hope I will be ready physically. I have high hopes for the race in Argentina and the track is fun to race at.”
Massimo Meregalli – Team Director
“It‘s been a kind of unusual race for us because the morning conditions of the track didn‘t allow us to check if the set up for the race would work. We started the race not exactly knowing what the tyre life was going to be like, which was a problem we had to deal with the whole weekend. The results of the race have been good, a podium is always a great result and compared to last year we made a big step forward. Today‘s race was pretty tough for Jorge as he was not in full condition and his performances were affected by the bronchitis that has been with him since Friday. We are leaving this race leading the championship and this gives us great motivation for the next race. Now we look forward to the next round in Argentina.”