Viñales started from fourth on the grid, but got pushed back to fifth as the field bunched up in the first corner. He put his head down, but had to let Johann Zarco pass him as he used the opening laps to get heat into his tyres. At the end of lap 5 the familiar number 25 found himself in ninth after a flurry of activity. Jorge Lorenzo had squeezed past and a little later a close battle between Viñales and Andrea Iannone caused both riders to go wide, allowing Rossi and Andrea Dovizioso through. However, the young Spaniard wasn?t out of contention yet.
The Yamaha rider was on a second wind and fought his way past Iannone, as Cal Crutchlow crashed out of fourth place. After overtaking Rossi and Dovizioso in one swoop, with 14 laps to go, Viñales tried to shake off both rivals, but was unable to clear off completely. Dovizioso put up a fight and, with ten laps to go, a small moment for the home hero meant he had to hand over fifth place. The Spaniard kept his cool and opted to secure ten solid points for the championship, crossing the line in sixth position, 24.556s from first, after a challenging race weekend.
Teammate Rossi had a solid start from seventh position, climbing up a place going into the first twisty section, but it wasn?t to last. He crossed the line for the first time in seventh place as he got into an early battle with Zarco, and later with Lorenzo and Viñales. However, the nine-time World Champion soon saw an opportunity to move up the order and grabbed it with both hands.
Within five laps the Doctor moved up from ninth to fifth, but had to make his YZR-M1 as wide as possible to hold off Dovizioso. With 17 laps to go, a small wobble cost Rossi fifth position. It was the first sign of grip troubles for the Italian, who was unable to keep a charging Danilo Petrucci, Aleix Espargaró and Jonas Folger at bay. He crossed the line in tenth place, 38.682s from the front.
Viñales’s sixth place puts him on 60 points and second place in the rankings, two points behind championship leader Rossi, who has earned a total of 62 points. Today?s results see Yamaha still holding the lead in the Constructor’s Championship with a four-point margin. The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team also remains on top in the Team’s Championship standings, 12 points ahead of its closest rival.
The Yamaha Factory Racing Team will be back in action in two weeks’ time for the Grand Prix de France at the Le Mans Bugatti Grand Prix race circuit.