Span­ish fly in the oint­ment

Rossi and Co on the back foot

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport - SI­MON PAT­TER­SON si­mon.pat­ter­son@mo­tor­cy­cle­

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

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