The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders could pick up on the excitement in the air as the final race was about to get underway. Rossi had a strong start from seventh, holding his position on the first lap. He then got into a battle with Jack Miller and dropped back to eighth, but the nine-time World Championship cunningly bided his time before taking back seventh position on lap 7.
It looked to be a relatively calm race for the Doctor, but it was just the silence before the storm. With 18 laps to go, he overtook Andrea Iannone, but later had to let Alex Rins pass, just before drama struck. Multiple crashes and run-offs saw the order at the front reshuffled. Yet Rossi remained cool and benefitted from the chaos, settling into fifth place. Unable to make a dent in the gap to the rider in front of him, he held that same position crossing the finish line, 13.817s from the front.
Viñales had a good feeling in the morning, but struggled to complete the testing of some final set-up changes for his YZR-M1 in the warm up session, as he lost some time due to a small crash. In the race he was able to make a solid start from P13, climbing up a place in the first lap, but then had to put a hold on his charge.
The home hero briefly dropped to 15th, but kept fighting. He overtook Danilo Petrucci with 15 laps to go, boosting his confidence. Four laps later he clocked two personal best times in a row, dropping into the low 1’32s. He soon overtook Bradley Smith and found himself moving up to tenth in the rankings, as various rivals crashed out of the race. He was keen on maintaining his position, but in the end took the chequered flag in 12th place, 35.012s from the front.
Today’s results see Rossi finish the championship in fifth place with 208 points, two places behind Viñales. The young Spaniard earned 230 points on his first year aboard the YZR-M1, ending the season 68 points behind the leader. Yamaha reclaimed second place in the Constructor rankings, with a 36-point margin to the top. The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team are also second in the Team classification, 70 points from first.
The team may have wrapped up the 2017 season, but they will be back in action at the Ricardo Tormo circuit on Tuesday November 14th, for the two-day Valencia MotoGP Official Test.