Viñales vs Rins: 2019 P3 fight goes down to the wire

The Yamaha rider’s Sepang victory sees him claim a seven-point advantage heading to Valencia

Sublime. One of the many words to describe Maverick Viñales’ (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) performance at the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix as the Spaniard took his second victory of the season – one that lifts him above Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) in the fight for P3 in the 2019 World Championship standings.

Viñales’ form post-Czech GP has been ultra-competitive. P5, P3, P3, P4, P3, P4, last lap crash in Australia and now P1 in Sepang. After a victory at the Dutch GP earlier in the year, it’s a run that has seen him close down and surpass Rins in the Championship with just a race remaining. The bronze medal isn’t the ideal colour for either of the Spaniards, but it’ll be something both will be wanting to grab hold of in Valencia – a nice boost ahead of the 2020 season kicking off just a couple of days later.

Rins also has two wins to his name in 2019, but the Suzuki star hasn’t sprayed the bubbly since his incredible British GP win. Rins couldn’t emulate his 2018 Malaysian GP rostrum on Sunday as he finished just behind Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and Viñales’ teammate Valentino Rossi, a P5 handing the number 42 11 points. Viñales’ maximum 25-point haul saw him leapfrog Rins into P3, giving the Yamaha rider a seven-point advantage in Valencia.

Viñales hasn’t scored a podium at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo since his title-winning Moto3™ victory in 2013, while Rins was on the rostrum in the sodden conditions last season. An intriguing battle awaits at Round 19 between the two – who’s your money on for P3 in the overall standings?  

Championship top five:
1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) - 395
2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) - 256
3. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) - 201
4. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) - 194

5. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) - 176

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