Italy’s Valentino Rossi said he couldn’t have asked for anything more as the Yamaha rider sealed a commanding 87th premier class win in the Spanish MotoGP round at Jerez on Sunday.
Rossi led from start to finish on the factory Yamaha M1 and was never seriously troubled as he closed out his 113th career GP victory in convincing style over Spanish team-mate Jorge Lorenzo and championship leader Marc Marquez, also from Spain.
Rossi, who is 24 points behind Marquez following his first victory of the 2016 season after four rounds and seven adrift of Lorenzo, said: “You cannot wait for nothing better because we started well from Friday and I feel good with the bike; yesterday I was first in both practices, especially for positions, so it was great.
“When I was on the grid, I know that I can have a good pace but in the race it is always more difficult. My mechanic said to me ‘first from the first corner to the last’ and I say, ‘this is a good idea – I will try!’
“I did a good start and I feel good with the bike from the beginning, I had good grip. I started to her the noise a little bit more far [of chasing riders], so I think that I can have a small advantage,” he added.
“I tried to push and I take it lap by lap and it was the best feeling that I can expect.”
Rossi experienced the same issue with rear wheel-spin on the straights with the medium Michelin that affected Lorenzo and admitted he was forced to slacken his pace to guard against the potential for creating an even bigger problem.
“We had a lot of spin in the straight and this is very strange, but it happen also yesterday in practice – I feel a little bit, today more,” Rossi said.
“In the last 10 or 12 laps, I spin very much, especially in the front straight and I start to be worried and slow down, because I had the worry that the tyre start to become too hot and start to make a vibration.
“I go on the straight with half-throttle so I don’t spin and I slow down a little bit, but the good thing is that anyway the bike and the tyres work well in the corners so I can stay on 1’40.8 or 1’40.9 and I understand it was enough.”
The nine-time world champion made a flying start from pole position and was able to keep his nose in front from Lorenzo, who briefly nudged ahead at turn nine on the second lap before Rossi hit straight back to regain the lead.
“The start was fantastic and also the first corners and also on the first lap I feel already a small, small advantage,” he said.
“On the second lap I wasn’t perfect, I did 1’40.6, because I don’t trust easily the situation and in fact Lorenzo overtake me, but I know that I have a good pace and try to come back and after from that moment I pulled away.”
The victory goes some way to making amends for Rossi’s spill in Austin at the previous round, but the Yamaha rider fears he may be left to rue the crash, which cost him vital ground in the championship.
“It is a shame my mistake in Austin because I could get a lot of points because I was fast, but I made a mistake so I cannot see now the championship – I am just concentrating race by race and try to be strong like this also in Le Mans,” said Rossi.
“For me, Jerez is important because usually you can understand your level: if you are strong in Jerez, you can be strong in all the European races, but maybe this is true, or maybe not.”
Looking ahead to round five in France, he added: “I like Le Mans, it is a good track for the Yamaha, but it is also very difficult because of the weather conditions but we have to try to work like this from Friday in Le Mans.”
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Moto GP of Spain result:
1. Valentino Rossi ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 45m 28.834s
2. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 45m 31.220s
3. Marc Marquez ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 45m 35.921s
4. Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 45m 39.185s
5. Aleix Espargaro ESP Team Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR) 45m 42.977s
6. Maverick Viñales ESP Team Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR) 45m 45.606s
7. Andrea Iannone ITA Ducati Team (Desmosedici GP) 45m 55.111s
8. Pol Espargaro ESP Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 45m 59.584s
9. Eugene Laverty IRL Aspar MotoGP Team (Desmosedici GP14.2) 46m 1.159s
10. Hector Barbera ESP Avintia Racing (Desmosedici GP14.2) 46m 1.458s
11. Cal Crutchlow GBR LCR Honda (RC213V) 46m 7.331s
12. Bradley Smith GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 46m 8.503s
13. Loris Baz FRA Avintia Racing (Desmosedici GP14.2) 46m 14.061s
14. Stefan Bradl GER Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP) 46m 16.720s
15. Yonny Hernandez COL Aspar MotoGP Team (Desmosedici GP14.2) 46m 16.822s
16. Michele Pirro ITA Octo Pramac Yakhnich (Desmosedici GP15) 46m 18.248s
17. Jack Miller AUS Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS (RC213V) 46m 18.347s
18. Tito Rabat ESP Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS (RC213V)* 46m 22.168s
19. Scott Redding GBR Octo Pramac Yakhnich (Desmosedici GP15) 46m 34.389s
Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team (Desmosedici GP) DNF
Alvaro Bautista ESP Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP) DNF
MotoGP Championships standings after round 4 of 18:
1. Marc Marquez SPA Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 82 points
2. Jorge Lorenzo SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 65 points (-17)
3. Valentino Rossi ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 58 points (-24)
4. Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 40 points (-42)
5. Pol Espargaro SPA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 36 points (-46)
6. Maverick Viñales SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR) 33 points (-49)
7. Aleix Espargaro SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR) 32 points (-50)
8. Hector Barbera SPA Avintia Racing (Desmosedici GP14.2) 31 points (-51)
9. Eugene Laverty IRL Aspar MotoGP Team (Desmosedici GP14.2) 28 points (-54)
10. Andrea Iannone ITA Ducati Team (Desmosedici GP) 25 points (-57)
11. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team (Desmosedici GP) 23 points (-59)
12. Bradley Smith GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 20 points (-62)
13. Stefan Bradl GER Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP) 17 points (-65)
14. Scott Redding GBR Octo Pramac Yakhnich (Desmosedici GP15) 16 points (-66)
15. Alvaro Bautista SPA Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP) 14 points (-68)
16. Michele Pirro ITA Octo Pramac Yakhnich (Desmosedici GP15) 12 points (-70)
17. Tito Rabat SPA Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS (RC213V)* 11 points (-71)
18. Cal Crutchlow GBR LCR Honda (RC213V) 5 points (-77)