AragonGP – Proof that there’s always time to bounce back on race-day!
Dylan Gray takes looks back on all of the action from the #ItalianGP and gives his analysis of the MotoGP™, Moto2™ and Moto3™ races.
Maverick Viñales claimed a career best fourth position at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, insisting the podium will come soon.
The 21-year-old is widely expected to leave Suzuki at the end of this season to replace the outgoing Jorge Lorenzo and his performance in the Americas Grand Prix showed exactly why Yamaha are so hot on him.
Battling through the field after a disappointing start from the second row, Viñales eventually found himself battling with his Ecstar Suzuki team-mate Aleix Espargaro. Viñales managed to utalise his superior pace to get ahead of his team-mate, although the gap up to third place Andrea Iannone was already too big to close.
Despite having issues with the grip at the rear of his Suzuki GSX-RR, Viñales was frustrated to not convert his pace through the weekend into the podium, but after seeing the gap to the Ducati, the Spaniard decided to settle for a career best finish.
“Unfortunately we had some troubles with the grip at the rear tyre, I felt confident until almost half of the race, already thinking to be able to recover on the third place, but then the performance dropped dramatically and made the recovery impossible,” explained Viñales after the chequered flag.
“At the end I decided to take the fourth and get to the finish. The result is positive, being fourth is my best result since I’ve been in MotoGP, but after the positive weekend it is a pity that we couldn’t finalise an even better result.”
Andrea Iannone claimed his first podium of 2016 at the Circuit of the Americas last weekend, and it couldn’t have come at a better time on the back of four consecutive DNF’s.
After the drama of Argentina seven days earlier, Iannone would’ve been hoping for a quiet race in Texas and that’s exactly what he got, finishing five seconds behind second place Jorge Lorenzo and seven seconds ahead of Suzuki’s Maverick Viñales.
Iannone started the Grand Prix of the Americas from seventh place, serving his three position penalty for causing the crash in Termas de Rio last week, however this week he was the beneficiary of more misfortune to his team-mate. This time it was Dani Pedrosa, ironically the man who was promoted into third position after Iannone’s suicide move last week, who smashing into the side of Dovizioso this week, promoting Iannone to third place.
With Jorge Lorenzo expected to officially announce his move to Ducati next time out in Jerez, Iannone knew it was important to finally get some points on the board in Austin.
“It was really important for me to finish on the podium today, but more than anything else to finish this race with a good result,” said Iannone. I was sorry I was demoted one row on the grid and in addition, at the start, I made contact with Dani and Aleix and lost a few places.”
Iannone was happy with the race pace of his Desmosedici, suggesting he believes he could’ve challenged Lorenzo for second place had he not started from the third row of the grid.
“In the race however I was very constant and always lapped with a good pace, very close to Jorge’s, and if I had started well, maybe I could even have fought it out for second place,” he said.
“In any case I am pleased with the way the GP went and I’d like to dedicate this podium to Ducati and to all the team because I made them suffer in the first two races and I hope that this result repays them for the commitment and the work that they are doing for me.”
Factory Ducati rider Andrea Iannone has said he fully expects Jorge Lorenzo to join him at Ducati next season.
Reports last week suggested Lorenzo was very close to signing a deal to partner Iannone in the Factory Ducati garage next season. Lorenzo’s manager Albert Valera flew over from Europe, with speculation to finalise a deal, with rumours of a verbal agreement already in place.
When asked about his future on Thursday, Lorenzo refused to deny the rumours, instead just reiterating his comments from Argentina that nothing has been signed.
If, and when Lorenzo signs his contract with Ducati, it is widely expected that he will partner Andrea Iannone. Iannone finished ahead of Dovizioso in the World Championship last season. Despite a tough start to the 2016 season – which included taking both himself and his team-mate out of a net second and third position in the final corner in Argentina – Iannone is widely expected to be retained for 2017.
Iannone has said that he doesn’t know if anything has been signed between Ducati and Lorenzo, but that he fully expects the Spaniard to be a Factory Ducati rider next season.
“For me, Jorge will come to Ducati. I don’t know whether he has signed or not, but to me, he is coming to Ducati,” the Italian said whilst speaking to Spanish newspaper Marca.
If he does end up partnering Lorenzo next season, Iannone said he would be very happy as his riding style would benefit from any changes Lorenzo would bring, something that he doesn’t currently benefit from with Dovizioso.
“If he comes and I’m at Ducati with him, I think it would be a very good team because we have very similar riding styles, something that has never happened with Dovizioso. Andrea has a very different style to mine and, therefore, often to get a good set-up or to pursue an opening we take different paths,” explained ‘the Maniac’.
“Instead, to have a person who rides similar to you, it would definitely help you a lot. He is a stronger rider than I am. He has done better than me over the years, so maybe I can learn some things from him.
“So this is very positive for me. But all this is ‘yes,’ ‘if,’ ‘if,’ we don’t know. If so, I’ll be happy.”
Lorenzo is expected to make a decision on his future at his home round of Jerez in two weeks time.