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Maverick Viñales’ (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) stunning win at the Motul TT Assen completed the perfect Dutch GP set for Yamaha this weekend, with either the race winner or third-place finisher Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) topping every session.
Three Yamaha riders also finished inside the top five on Sunday, with Quartararo’s teammate Franco Morbidelli equalling his career-best MotoGP™ result in P5. A double podium and a first win since the 2018 Australian GP was a welcome weight off the shoulders for the Iwata factory as they now aim to continue this sort of form into the rest of the season.
In 15 mins: Dutch Grand Prix MotoGP™ highlights
For Viñales, 2019 has been a rocky road – and a lot of it through no fault of his own. The Spaniard has been taken out of contention by other riders in three races this season, with his jump start error in Texas a massive blow as he looked set for a podium charge. However, a superb Dutch GP weekend didn’t end in disappointment and, as you can imagine, the 24-year-old was delighted when speaking to motogo.com.
“Amazing, amazing because I’ve been passing very tough moments, I’ve been knocked out in out in three races and a jump start in Austin, which is the race I felt most prepared also in Montmelo I think we had the opportunity to fight for the win. Somehow we found a good step for the races. It’s difficult to believe because I thought I couldn’t make this pace because in the warm-up, I was not so bad with used tyres but we missed a little bit of pace. But finally, I was hitting 33s all the time.
“I was very happy, very happy when increased the line. A lot of press went out, bringing Yamaha to the top is something very special, in two years we were the only ones to make the victory (for Yamaha). I have to say congratulations to the team, they worked really well since Mugello. What can I say, it’s something unbelievable.”
Viñales: "It's difficult to believe"
If you cast your minds back to 2017, the year Viñales made the switch to Yamaha from Suzuki, the Spaniard won three of the first five races. His performance today mirrored that sort of form and when asked if he felt as good as he did then on the bike today, this is what he had to say:
“I really don’t know if it’s exactly the same feeling. What I do know is that we work hard, I’m better than ever on the bike, I understand many things. I was ready to fight on the last lap, I knew where I could overtake the other riders so I was ready for everything.
“During the weekend we prepare for a good race. We know this moment is good, we have to enjoy but after tomorrow we know we’re going to have to face, like after Montmelo, a lot of motivation and a lot of potential with a hunger for the victory like we had when we went ahead to Assen.”
Post-race Press Conference: Dutch TT
Viñales will head to the Sachsenring pumped. Both he and teammate Valentino Rossi secured podiums at the German GP last season and that’s his aim again in a week’s time.
“Marc is very strong but our mission is to be on the podium,” confirmed Viñales. “So we're going to try to make it, last year we were pretty strong at the Sachsenring so we will try to be on the podium. The important thing is to fight for the victory. We fight for the victory and finally we don’t make it? Ok. Maybe one track you win and one track you don’t. But it’s important to be there, every session, trying to prove that the bike is improving.”
The aforementioned Morbidelli was pleased to get a finish under his belt after two DNFs at Mugello and in Barcelona. The Italian didn’t have the pace to keep tabs on the leading riders in the opening exchanges of the race but the 2017 Moto2™ World Champion was able to pick off Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) to finish fifth.
Morbidelli, the last lap dark horse in Assen
“Yes it was important to finish the race today. And moreover, we finished in a good position, we equalled out best result with fifth so I’m happy about that. It was a strange race because in the beginning, I didn’t feel I had the speed necessary to stay with the top group. But then towards the end of the race I was, the feeling was getting better and better and compared to the other guys I was able to be a bit faster. I recovered some more positions and I finished 5th, very happy about this result, thanks to my team and thanks to my crew.”
After injuring his left hand in a Free Practice crash in Assen last season, Morbidelli missed the 2018 German GP. So, heading there in less than a week’s time will be his first taste of the tight and twisty Sachsenring on a MotoGP™ thoroughbred.
“Yes, I don’t know what to expect. Sachsenring is a track where I always been fast, don’t know why but I have always been fast with the Moto2 (bike) so I’m curious to go and see how the Yamaha reacts there.”
Viñales and Yamaha will be hoping for more of the same at the German GP, with the action kicking off on Friday morning as we gear up for our first back-to-back GPs of the season.
A difficult Dutch weekend culminates in a crash for Rossi