CzechGP Valentino Rossi 4th 44:15.974 +20.466 | Valentino Rossi Blog

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Sunday, August 6, 2017

CzechGP Valentino Rossi 4th 44:15.974 +20.466



Rossi: "It's always difficult in a flag-to-flag"

Nine-time World Champion leaves it late to switch before slicing through to fourth

Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) got a good start and was into the lead not long after at the Czech GP, but a quickly drying track saw the ‘Doctor’ then come in for a bike swap a little late – along with key title rival Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team). Rossi was then charged with the task of moving back through the field from outside the top ten, but the number 46 kept his head down and managed just that – taking Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) for fourth on the final lap, damage limitation complete and only just off the podium.

The rider from Tavullia says the conditions - or the flag-to-flag races - are something he's struggled with, but is happy to have improved from the last one - and has more than kept himself in the title fight.
 
Valentino Rossi, P4: "It is always difficult in these conditions in a flag-to-flag. It for sure isn't our strongest point, this type of racing, but in the end the result is not so bad. We improved a lot from the last flag-to-flag and I finished fourth, but I think that before the end of my career we can defeat this flag-to-flag race situation! Anyway, I think that in a full dry or full wet race I can fight for the podium for sure. It remained a good weekend, because we worked well in the box. I felt good with the bike, that's important, and I was strong on the wet and on the dry. The race was very hard, I pushed from the beginning to the end. It's a shame that we could have taken more points and arrived on the podium, but it's like this and in this condition fourth place is not so bad."

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) threw down the gauntlet to his Championship rivals in the Czech GP, with the race declared wet but the track quickly drying at the start – conditions made for a tactical masterstroke for those willing to gamble. And that’s exactly what the number 93 pulled off. A second consecutive victory saw him grow his Championship lead, with teammate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) closing in on those above him in the standings with an impressive ride into second – taking his 150th podium. Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) managed to charge back up through the field to complete the rostrum, limiting the damage caused by pitting later and keeping himself second in the standings.
With the field all on wets, Marquez got away in the lead at lights out, but a storming start for Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) from fifth saw him then moving through for the lead on Lap 1. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) slotted into P3, with Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) just besting Pedrosa to take fourth.
Lorenzo began to pull away with a good gap as Rossi swooped through on both Dovizioso and Marquez to take second, and a dry line was already appearing. The number 93 was dropping through the field and then dived into the pits as the first to try the switch to slicks – struggling on the softer tyre and taking the gamble early.
Rossi was hunting down Lorenzo as the track was drying and drying, before the ‘Spartan’ headed in – as did many of the front group. Meanwhile, Marquez was on a charge setting red sector after red sector back out on slicks, and it appeared he’d played his hand to perfection.
As the deck shuffled, he was soon taking the lead – and proving his decision to pit a tactical masterstroke as the dust settled and the gap back to Pedrosa in P2 was around 20 seconds.
Meanwhile, Lorenzo was delayed in the pits as the riders around him - including Viñales - streamed out, with Rossi and Dovizioso steadfastly remaining out for another lap until both diving in together.
Viñales got the hammer down from the mid-pack as everyone shuffled back out on track, slowly starting to reel in those ahead of him. Picking them off one-by-one, the rider from Roses finally battled past Crutchlow, Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing) and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) to make it into some clear air, some six seconds off Pedrosa in second and the podium seeming decided. Pedrosa, meanwhile, ate a good number of seconds off Marquez' lead, more than secure in second.
Slightly further back, Dovizioso had a simple mission: after both pitting late, the Italian needed to stay as close to compatriot Rossi as possible. Close on points in the Championship, ‘DesmoDovi’ managed some good damage limitation in managing to stay close enough, but Rossi kept the upper hand.
With Cal Crutchlow the last man in between the ‘Doctor’ and his teammate Viñales as they honed in on the top four, Rossi got his head down and pushed on – eventually catching the Brit and able to get past him on the final lap. Dovizioso followed the number 35 home and took P6, close but not quite able to shadow his compatriot over the line.
Petrucci took a solid result in seventh after losing grip in the latter stages, ahead of Aleix Espargaro after a penalty for an unsafe release in pit lane saw the Spaniard move back three places.
There was a rockstar performance in P9, with Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) crossing the line only two tenths off his older brother, taking a stunning result in a tough race and bringing some good points home for the Austrian factory.
Jonas Folger (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) completed the top ten, with the German rookie slicing back through the field and escaping the clutches of fellow rookie Alex Rins. Folger had been well outside the points, and Rins’ result was the culmination of a promising weekend for the Spaniard as he comes back from injury - the second rookie home and ahead of Zarco, who was twelfth. 
Karel Abraham (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) was running much further up for the initial stages until the pack shuffled around him, but the Czech rider nevertheless took solid points at home in P13. Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) was fourteenth after a more difficult weekend.
Jorge Lorenzo, after leading early on, found his delay in the pit lane costly. The five-time World Champion put in a good comeback, however, moving through from outside the top twenty to complete the points in fifteenth – bridging some big gaps along the way.
The next stop on the calendar will be heartening for Lorenzo and the Ducati team, as MotoGP™ heads to Austria – a track that suits the ‘Desmosedici’ like no other. And despite Marquez’ domination at Brno, everything remains very much an open book – with Viñales, Rossi, Dovizioso and Pedrosa still in hot pursuit ahead of next weekend’s visit to the Red Bull Ring.

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