Thousands of passionate Italian fans at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli were on the edge of their seats as they cheered on their Movistar Yamaha MotoGP hero. Valentino Rossi delivered a strong performance and led for most of the race to ultimately take second place in the ‘Gran Premio di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini’. Teammate Jorge Lorenzo also held a fast pace throughout the 28 laps, to take third place.
Starting from second on the grid, Rossi entered the first corner side-by-side with Maverick Viñales, but was quick to leave the Spaniard behind when he flicked his bike left into turn 2 as he wanted to prevent his teammate from clearing off at the front. After the first lap there was just 0.202s between them and only a lap later the Doctor leaped past Lorenzo in turn 14, reversing the order. He followed it up with two fastest laps of the race that far, 1‘33.672s on lap three, and a 1‘33.384s on lap five, increasing his lead to over 0.8s.
The local hero continued to push and was able to extend the margin to 1.2s, but Dani Pedrosa had overtaken Lorenzo and was chasing the Doctor down with eleven laps to go. The pair got involved in a fight for first place three laps later. Making his Yamaha as wide as possible, Rossi defended his lead tooth and nail but with seven laps to go Pedrosa made an aggressive pass at turn 4. Determined to fight to the very end of the race Rossi put in a personal best lap of 1‘33.025s, three laps to the end, but he was unable to catch his rival and took the chequered flag in second place, +2.837s from the front.
Starting from pole Lorenzo had an ideal launch off the line, taking the holeshot. He opted for his traditional strategy to break away early with a few hot laps, but his teammate was on his tail. The pair briefly touched when Rossi moved past a lap later in turn 14, but Lorenzo wasn‘t going to give up on the win easily. The Mallorcan increased his pace steadily but a threat was coming from behind.
Pedrosa was on the charge and with 13 laps remaining the two compatriots battled for second place. Lorenzo kept pushing to cut a chunk of time out of his disadvantage to Rossi, but two laps later he had to let Pedrosa through. Lorenzo continued to shadow the two frontmen, but came just short to be able to cut down the margin and join the fight at the front. He finished in a solid third place, +4.359s behind the winner.
Rossi‘s 20 points gives him a total score of 180, keeping him in second position in the championship standings, with a 43 point margin to the leader. He is 18 points ahead of Lorenzo in third place, who has collected 162 points so far this season.
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team will take a short break before the Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón in two weeks’ time.
Rossi: Pedrosa was too fast
I tried the maximum to race against Marquez. When I saw that my rhythm was enough to win I was very happy, but later Pedrosa arrived and he was too fast. I tried the maximum but there was no way, he had a better pace. Anyway, it‘s second place. It‘s a shame here in Misano, it‘s a race I especially tried to win, but today it wasn‘t possible. Thank you to all the fans that were at the track, it was great.
Lorenzo: I simply didn’t have the pace
I can‘t be very happy, because I expected a bit more from the race. I tried hard for the victory but today I simply didn‘t have the best pace. Especially Dani had a better pace and Rossi had one tenth on some laps. Little by little they were going away, so I tried my best to stay there but they went ahead. Honestly they were faster.
Kiko Giles @MotoGPKiko