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Viñales endures Valencia run to capture 2019 MotoGP bronze medal

Nov 182019

Monster Energy Yamaha’s Maverick Viñales helped set the pace throughout the Grand Prix of Valencia and the final slice of MotoGP at a chilly Ricardo Tormo circuit…but the low temperatures contributed to a muted sixth position for #12 in the race. The Spaniard delivered enough points however to make sure of third place for 2019 behind Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso.

“The first aim was to take 3rd in the championship,” Maverick said after 27 intense laps of the compact and restrictive layout surrounded by almost 100,000 fans in the vast grandstands. “Today, I didn't have the feeling on the bike. We suffered a lot on the rear tyre, and I never created enough grip - as I did in practice - so I could not be fast during all the race. It never gave me a chance to be fast. I tried to control the race the best I could.”

His mature approach allowed enough points to bank his second top-three classification in the last three years and end a long campaign as the top M1 racer. “For sure third in the championship means a lot because we equalled our best result here in Yamaha and to be in the top three is always important,” he said. “So, achieving another top-three despite four ‘zeros’ and not many good races is always great: for me it's a present.”

 

Maverick brought 2019 to a close with seven podiums and two wins. He cut a more determined and content figure and attributed the increased potential to a close team bond. “For me, the best ever in MotoGP,” he admitted. “So, I'm very happy…and I'm very enthusiastic to start next year. We need to create a good atmosphere again and to keep challenging, because I think with Yamaha we can do a really good job this winter.”

 

“This year we created a team that I trusted a lot and in the difficult moments everyone was waiting for me with a smile,” he added. “Everyone was trying to carry me, and they gave me the extra power in the low moments to keep pushing and keep taking the best results.”

Teammate Valentino Rossi had a quiet ride to eighth place and the Italian’s outing was less dramatic than Cal Crutchlow’s who entered Turn 1 too fast and slid into the gravel. The same fate – but on a different corner – befell Franco Morbidelli.

Further forward and Quartararo further established his profile as the outstanding breakthrough talent. The French 21 year old finished just over a second behind the conquering Marquez to lift his seventh trophy of ’19. Fabio was not only the Rookie of the Year but arguably the nearest – and newest - threat to Marquez’s hegemony. It was the surprise and low expectation around his signature (one of the last for 2019 when it was confirmed in the summer of 2018) for the Petronas Yamaha SRT team that helped drive #20 onto a new level.

 

“In 2018 a lot of people told me I didn’t deserve the seat in MotoGP and that I was not ready or it was too early. This year I think I proved that I was,” he said. “Honestly, you always need to believe in yourself.”

 

As per usual Valencia is the transition point for MotoGP. The stage for the closing action of a long season is also the springboard for the first feelings and impressions of the technology of 2020. Testing and refocusing starts in a matter of days.

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