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Both Movistar Yamahas made a good start at the Japanese GP, but disaster struck first for Valentino Rossi as the ‘Doctor’ crashed out of the race when chasing down Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini). After also highsiding on Saturday, it was a painful two days for the Italian – although he escaped unscathed.
“It was a big crash this time,” explains Rossi. “Yesterday was too, but today more. It was a highside. I was behind Espargaro and tried not to give up and keep his pace but on the left I had no grip, it was like I was on ice. When I realised, I was already flying. I’m very lucky the leg is ok! I’m in pain everywhere, but not a lot.”
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Rossi and Viñales on their difficult #JapaneseGP
That’s a good positive as the nine-time World Champion continues to recover to full strength following his broken leg, but the grip issues were something elaborated on by teammate Viñales following his P9.
“I gave everything, especially in the first laps when I was feeling better,” said Viñales. “I was trying everything and to push from the beginning but it was very difficult. It was very difficult to ride the bike and I was close to crashing a few times so I said ‘ok, this is the limit’. We dropped the tyre a lot, from when I was behind Aleix suddenly I was three seconds off.”
When asked about the Championship – where Viñales is now 41 points off the top – the Spaniard says he's not thinking about it, and he’ll wait and see how the rest of the season plays out.
“The Championship isn’t in my head now,” explains rider from Roses. “Another circumstance would have to happen for me to take this title. But Australia is a track I llike, so we’re going to go there and give the maximum. Today this was the maximum. Until all the points are collected it is impossible to know if there is still a chance to win the championship.”
Both Yamahas will be back on track in Australia and looking to bounce back.
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