The Dutch GP marks an unwanted milestone for Movistar Yamaha, but there are reasons to be positive
The Dutch GP signals a year since Valentino Rossi and the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team last won a Grand Prix, but there’s reasons to be positive for the team who have won half of the MotoGP World Championship’s since 2003.
The factory Yamaha team are one race away from equaling their worst winless run in the premier class, that being the 18 races between Sepang 2002 and South Africa in 2004. “It’s very bad news because it’s a long time since my last victory, but also from Yamaha’s last victory, so we need to work,” commented Rossi, speaking after his Catalan GP podium.
However, Rossi’s Barcelona podium was his third in a row and his fourth overall in 2018, placing him as Marc Marquez’ (Repsol Honda Team) closest title challenger on 88 points. Meanwhile, Viñales is one of only two riders to have scored points in all seven rounds this season and despite his only podium coming in Austin, the Spaniard’s pace in the latter stages of races show the speed is there. So, there’s more than one reason to believe the unwanted record will end soon.
Can ‘The Doctor’ or Viñales end the streak this time around in the Netherlands? “Assen is a fantastic track and usually we are quite competitive there,” says the number 46, who has eight premier class wins at the ‘Cathedral of Speed’, including three in the last five years.
And the number 25? “Assen is a track I like, I always like to go there. Last year was difficult, I came from 12th, I was fighting for 1st and I was too enthusiastic and too aggressive and I crashed.” Viñales has two wins and a further two podiums at Assen during his Grand Prix career, but has been unable to find the podium in the premier class.
A win has been a long time coming for the Japanese manufacturer, but the signs are there for either Rossi or Viñales to stand on the top step in the Netherlands this year.