Rossi had a good start from tenth position on the grid and quickly moved up a spot. Despite the track being crowded with 25 riders simultaneously trying to squeeze through the tight corners of the Jerez track, he held firm as he crossed the line for the first time. Over the next few laps he battled with Andrea Iannone, but wasn’t able to cling on to the back of his compatriot’s bike. When two rivals ahead of him crashed out of the race in the early stages, the Doctor found himself in eighth position, after he had to let Danilo Petrucci through.
The Italian then focused on defending his position from an approaching Jack Miller and managed the gap perfectly. He bided his time until he felt the bike come to him with eight laps to go and launched an attack on Petrucci, but was unable to make it stick. Yet, as three further frontrunners crashed out of the race, he moved up to fifth position and was consequently part of the group battling for third place. Miller passed Rossi on lap 20, but two laps later the nine-time World Champion retaliated and was digging deep to bridge the gap to the riders in front. He was making serious strides, but came just short, taking the chequered flag in fifth place, 8.743s from first.
Viñales had a difficult start to the 25-lap race. He shadowed his teammate in the first lap, in tenth position, but fell back to thirteenth place on the fourth lap. As some rivals crashed out, he moved up two positions, but had to hand one back when Alvaro Bautista passed him on lap 7.
The Yamaha rider was keen on pleasing his fans, who had travelled from far and wide to watch his home Grand Prix. He was pushing hard to keep posting low 1’40s and, as multiple riders crashed out of the race on lap 18, he moved further up the order to ninth place. The young fighter seized the opportunity and started to gain momentum. He overtook Franco Morbidelli two laps later and put his head down, setting his fastest lap of the race in lap 21. He was consistently closing in on Bautista and made his move two laps before the end to take a hard-fought seventh place, 13.543s from the leader.
Today’s race results see Viñales staying in third place in the championship standings, with 50 points. Rossi gained a place, holding sixth with a 40-point total. Yamaha remains second in the Constructor Championship with 76 points, while Movistar Yamaha MotoGP is still in first position in the Team Championship, having scored 90 points.
The team will be back on track tomorrow in Jerez, Spain, for a one-day official IRTA-test, followed by a private test in Italy later next week.