Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi ended his Argentine adventure in style today with a sensational victory in the Gran Premio de la República Argentina. Teammate Jorge Lorenzo started strongly as a key protagonist before dropping to finish in fifth.
Starting from a less than perfect eighth position on the grid, Rossi was immediately in the middle of the pack fighting for first corner position. Taking a lap to find his rhythm he then started his move up the field, taking first Danilo Petrucci and then Aleix Espargarò to move into sixth. With 20 laps to go his teammate Lorenzowas next as the Doctor continued his charge towards the front.
The next pack to be dispatched were Andrea Iannone, then Cal Crutchlow and finally Andrea Dovizioso to put the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider in second position. Rossi then had the seemingly impossible task of closing a gap of over four seconds to leading rider Marc Marquez.
The nine-time world champion then delivered a performance for the record books, putting the hammer down and cutting the lead lap by lap to reel Marquez in with just two laps remaining. A fast exchange of positions followed through turns two, three and four, with Rossi exiting turn five in the lead. In his rush to counter attack, Marquez then clipped Rossi’s back wheel on the exit, crashing out of contention.
Teammate Lorenzo was quick to attack from the grid start, taking third through the first corner then swiftly dealing with Aleix Espargarò for second and beginning the hunt for Marquez. The charge was to be short lived as the Mallorcan struggled to make the harder rear tyre work for him, gradually dropping to take fifth at the line.
Rossi’s victory brings with it some incredible numbers, bringing Rossi’s podium tally to 199, 110 of which are victories and 51 of those with Yamaha.
The result puts him on 66 points at the top of the rider standings, six clear of Dovizioso in second. Movistar Yamaha MotoGP also lead the team standings on 103 points and Yamaha lead the constructors standings with 66 points.
Lorenzo’s fifth place finish delivers 11 points, putting him on a total of 37 in fourth, one point ahead of Marquez.
“It’s a great victory, we made the right decision and started with the extra hard tyre. When I saw Marc start with the red one I knew that he would try to push at the beginning. I made a great start but on the first corner Iannone pushed me on the outside. Step by step I came back, and when I arrived in second Marc had a little more than four seconds lead. I knew the race was long, so I knew he could have some difficulty. Catching him lap by lap, I could see him far away but coming closer and closer, it was a great taste! I overtook him in braking, but he is a rider who is all or nothing, he touched me in the corner, then he touched me again as I was accelerating, I think he made a mistake and he crashed. It’s a shame because it could have been a great fight on the last lap. In three races we have demonstrated we can be competitive everywhere and fight for the championship.”
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“Honestly, I am very disappointed. I didn’t expect to finish in fifth position. I expected to fight at least for the podium. I was was not able to ride as good as Valentino with the hard rear tyre, maybe we needed a softer one to feel better. I didn’t feel good and I wasn’t able to ride as I wanted. Anyway, we keep getting points and let’s see in Jerez if we can be faster. Valentino’s race was unbelievable, he was able to go faster than anyone else with the harder tyre, he is in an unbelievable shape.”