It was a positive Sunday afternoon for Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) at the myWorld Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich as the nine-time World Champion secured P4, having started the race from P10.
Compared to this time last year, Rossi and Yamaha’s fortunes have drastically improved. Iwata factory bosses came out and publicly apologised to Rossi and teammate Maverick Viñales for the bike’s poor performance. However, a fourth-place for ‘The Doctor’, with Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) taking P3 and Viñales P5, means Yamaha have had a successful Austrian GP weekend with three bikes inside the top five.
Rossi was disappointed to have qualified tenth on Saturday afternoon but after a good start 24 hours later on Sunday, the number 46 found himself inside the top six and in the mix for the podium places. In the end Rossi wouldn’t be able to sustain a rostrum threat but the 40-year-old held off Viñales and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) in the latter stages to take a well-earned P4.
“Yes I’m happy about the weekend and especially about the race because on paper, this track is very difficult. But we improve and from Friday morning we understood that we were competitive compared to last year, so this is very important,” reflected Rossi.
“The race was good because I was able to recover from tenth position on the grid, and after I was also in a good position for the podium but unfortunately, especially Dovi and Marquez but also Quartararo, were a bit faster than me. So I was no able to fight for the podium, but I was not so far.”
The Yamaha rider was just over one and a half seconds back from Quartararo and finishing seven seconds behind two Spielberg titans – Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) – was probably something himself and Yamaha would have taken heading into the weekend.
So, two top-six finishes in the Czech Republic and Austria is a decent start to the second half of the season for Rossi. The charismatic Italian was upbeat when reflecting on his results since the summer break and is hoping for a good weekend at Silverstone – a track that suits the Yamaha much better than the Red Bull Ring.
“The start of the second half of the season is not fantastic but quite positive, considering the disaster of the first half. Looks like Yamaha have started to work harder and started to work in a better way, we have a lot to do, but like this is better, and it looks like we improved. Now we have Silverstone, so we hope for good weather and a good weekend because the track is fantastic and the new asphalt can also be good for Yamaha.”
The British GP kicks off on the 23rd August. Can Rossi mount a podium challenge at the historical Northamptonshire layout?