Spanish fly in the ointment
Rossi and Co on the back foot
Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales have left the fourth round of the 2017 Motogp championship searching for answers after a disastrous race saw them slump to tenth and sixth respectively.
The factory Yamaha pair are still sitting first and second in the championship standings – albeit by the slimmest of margins – but these weren’t the results they were expecting at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Rossi was off the pace and out of sorts throughout the weekend as he struggled at a track where he won in 2016 and clearly expected better.
The nine-time world champion said: “It was a difficult weekend and a difficult race, and we expected to be a lot stronger. But we struggled with spin, and for the race we tried to modify the balance of the bike but it didn’t work. In the end it was even worse though, because I lost feeling in the front as well and spent all race struggling.”
The mood was no better on the other side of the Movistar Yamaha garage with team-mate Viñales unable to turn a strong showing in morning warm-up into results after battling with his own issues at the front of the bike.
He said: “We brought home ten important points for the championship, but it was so difficult. After the warm-up, I thought I could maybe even go with Marc and Dani, but right from the beginning of the race I had no feeling from the front. I nearly crashed two or three times, and I just tried to bring it home with the most points possible.”
And to make a difficult day even worse, the pair were trumped not only by their title rivals but by the satellite Yamaha rookie pair of Johann Zarco and Jonas Folger, who came home fourth and eighth respectively (see below).
I nearly crashed two or three times, and I just tried to bring it home
Things didn’t go to plan with both Rossi and Viñales struggling for feel
Viñales’ winning streak felt like a distant memory as he battled at Jerez