Rossi couldn‘t have dreamt of a better start to his 400th Grand Prix. Nobody had seen him coming from fourth on the grid, yet he blasted past the opposition around the outside as they turned into the first corner. He had an over 0.6s gap after the second sector but wasn‘t able to maintain it. Once the field caught up with him, the Doctor gradually fell back to eighth. However, he wasn‘t out for the count yet.
Halfway through the race the Italian was back in fourth position as the leader of the second group of riders, but he struggled to inch closer to the front group and soon a threat came from behind. Rossi got involved in the group battle again in the second half of the race and found himself in eighth position across the finish line, 15.841s from first.
Viñales started from pole but got swallowed up by the field in the first corner. The Spaniard settled into sixth position and gradually made his way up again. He overtook two riders, including his team-mate who had led the opening laps, to get to fourth. Next on his list were Andrea Iannone, Marc Marquez, and Cal Crutchlow. One by one the Yamaha rider steadily picked them off. On lap 10 he hit the lead for the first time, with Marquez on his heels.
The number-12 rider held firm, maintaining his P1 spot until the start of the very last lap. Forced to let his rival pass him on the long straight before going into Turn 1, Viñales was pushing to the limit to fight back. Marquez was unable to shake him off, but Top Gun Maverick couldn‘t find a way through. Then drama struck in the final sector, when he suffered a high-speed crash. He was able to walk away from the incident without any injuries but ended the race with an NC score.
Viñales remains in fourth place in the championship standings, 7 points from the rider in third place. Rossi holds seventh in the overall rankings, 23 points behind his team-mate. Yamaha maintains third position in the constructor standings, and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP also stay in third place in the team classification.
The team will resume the MotoGP action at the Sepang International Circuit next weekend for the Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix, held from November 1st – 3rd.