Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Jorge Lorenzo delivered a brilliant ride today to stay ahead of the main pack and hold on to second place on the podium for the Grand Prix of the Americas. Teammate Valentino Rossi had a difficult start with a slipping clutch but recovered to chase the front pack until losing the front at turn two of lap three, ending his Texas adventure.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGPs Jorge Lorenzo delivered a superb performance to secure second on the podium in the Grand Prix of the Americas at the COTA circuit in Texas.
A typical start for the Spaniard saw him grab the holeshot from second on the grid and lead into the first corner. The high pace at the front left him running wide for a couple of corners as the race found a rhythm, dropping as low as fourth before quickly recovering to third to begin hunting Andrea Dovizioso in second place.
With 17 laps to go he was able to make his move up into second but was unable to match the race leaders speed. The seasoned GP rider then rode an intelligent race, carefully increasing the gap to third behind him to over 10 seconds at the line for 20 valuable championship points.
Valentino Rossi was disappointed to exit the Texas GP early after finding arguably his best for yet at COTA. A slipping clutch from the start grid complicated his progress for the first few laps, but the nine-time champion was coming back strongly on lap three and beginning to close the gap to those in front. Rossi was battling between fifth and sixth position when he lost the front on turn two with 19 laps to go, ending his Texas adventure.
The race results see Lorenzo move up from fourth into second place in the championship standings on 45 points, with teammate Rossi dropping one place to third and remaining on 33 points.
The MotoGP Championship now heads to Jerez in Spain for the first European Grand Prix of the year on 24th April.
Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
“It was a good second place for Jorge, he rode a very intelligent race to secure the maximum points he knew he could achieve, 20 important points for the championship. Its an important result to take to Europe to a series of tracks he knows very well with a strong record of victories. Unfortunately for Valentino during the start he had to pull the clutch and from that moment it started spinning. As it was recovering he tried to close the gap to the front riders and he crashed. It’s a great pity as he was feeling very comfortable on the bike and was potentially capable of his best ever finish in Texas. Despite this it has been a very promising weekend as we were able to make definitive improvements session by session at a track we were concerned about at the start. Its been a valuable experience that will help us for next time. Now we finally return to our first European race of the year to a track we know both our riders are capable of winning at, with a package we know is competitive.”
“It was really important to finish the race and get 20 points after crashing at high speed in the morning, it was really difficult mentally to focus. I tried in warm up and through the few hours before the race to focus and convince myself for the race. It was a difficult beginning, the track was slippery and with the hard rear tyre and the full tank it was difficult to stop especially on braking. I made some mistakes I don’t normally do in the first lap. I couldn’t keep the pace of Marc, he was making the difference this weekend and in the race. I was fast enough to stay in second place and finish the race. You could see it was difficult to stay on the bike with a lot of crashes. Today the important thing was to finish and I did it.”
“It’s a shame because at the start unfortunately I burnt the clutch. I was third but the clutch slipped a lot, so I had to go slow to try and recover the clutch and I lost some positions. At the same time I was not so far, I felt good with the bike, we worked well during the weekend and I felt fast. I had the feeling the clutch was coming back already but I entered turn two, I didnt feel from the bike I was too fast but looking at the result maybe I was… It’s a shame because we lost some points in the championship and also because we could make a good race. The positive side is that we are strong and very fast, so we will be ready for jerez.”
Espargaro moves to 4th in the championship after solid ride in Texas
Monster Yamaha Tech3 team rider Pol Espargaro delivered a resolute performance to finish the Grand Prix of The Americas in a well deserved 7th place in front of approximately 56,000 passionate fans. The 2013 Moto2 World Champion kicked off his battle from 13th on the grid and undertook a positive start before bringing himself right in the mix in the fight for the top independent rider. He continued his strong pace and by lap seven he had risen up to 10th. After moving ahead of the group, Espargaro dug deep and set a series of consistent lap times to gap the pursuing riders and with the 21-lap lasting competition drawing to a close, the Spaniard remained cool and eventually sped over the finish line in 7th. The result leaves him fourth in the 2016 World Championship standings and Monster Yamaha Tech3 third in the team standings, ahead of the MotoGP paddock returning to Europe.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team garage, Bradley Smith suffered bad luck in the round three battle despite producing a thorough effort in the race. The young Briton began the Grand Prix from the fourth row on the grid after a determined display in qualifying yesterday. When the lights flicked off, Smith bolted forwards and quickly set into his rapid rhythm as he looked to clinch a strong point scoring finish. By lap 8, he was up to 8th and had closed in on the three riders in front of him yet, his luck ran dry and he fell at the 11th turn. Nevertheless, the determined 25-year-old remounted and pushed all the way to the chequered flag, but eventually completed the race in 17th due to a damaged gear lever. The 2015 fastest satellite rider will now seek to bounce back strongly at the next GP at the Circuito de Jerez.
“Today I certainly didn’t feel very comfortable on the bike but having said that I did my very best in trying to keep it on two wheels. At the beginning of the race, we decided to use the softer front tyre and in all honesty, it was really tricky to follow the other riders on full fuel load. Yet, once the tank emptied a bit, I was able to start pushing and I began catching my teammate. Then suddenly, I saw some crashes in front and I even had a moment myself, so I decided to settle down as I wanted to finish the race and leave the US with some valuable points. In the end, this is what we achieved, so now I am 4th in the championship which is a nice gift for the boss, as it’s his birthday today. The next GP will be back in Europe and on my home soil so I can’t wait to go to Jerez, especially after the positive start to the season so far. Of course, we go there with the aim of improving our performance further, but I believe that this year more than ever, consistency is the key for a strong championship result.”
“Unfortunately, todays result wasnt the best and all of our hard work was lost because of something that was out of our control. I lost the front at turn 11 due to an oil spill or something on the racetrack. It was just a little bit off the racing line and when Cal went down it caught me by surprise, so I released the brake. I was slightly off line, just like he was and I fell at the exact same place. This was frustrating because it wasnt a mistake of my own, but this is racing and these things happen. I couldnt really do much once I got back on the bike because I had a damaged gear lever, which made it difficult to shift, plus I also lost the anti-wheelie so the final laps were tricky to say the least. However, I was determined to finish because we had worked hard all weekend and overall there are still many positives to consider as we were definitely stronger at the beginning of this Grand Prix than we have been in the first two. So to conclude, I am happy with the final performance at this event, but I am disappointed that something silly like this ruined our race. Now, we have a lot of work to do to catch up on points in the championship but once we go to Jerez we will be ready to push forward again.”