Rossi’s slick tyre strategy results in AustrianGP eighth
Valentino Rossi ends dramatic race at Spielberg eighth; Cal Crutchlow 17th
PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team’s Valentino Rossi braved the wet weather on slick tyres at the close of the AustrianGP to claim eighth – his best result of the 2021 season so far – after running as high as third, while Cal Crutchlow crossed the Spielberg finish line 17th.
Rossi experienced a poor start to the race from 18th, dropping two places on the opening lap. The Italian soon recovered to his original position on the second lap and made his way into the points by lap 18. As the rain started to fall, the majority of the field opted to change bikes with four laps to go, but Valentino made the call of staying on slicks and moved into third with two laps left to run. Unfortunately, he was forced to slow his pace in the heavy rain and Rossi ended eighth.
In his second race as stand-in for the recovering Franco Morbidelli, Crutchlow was able to gain a couple of places on the opening lap, having started the AustrianGP 20th. Although he soon dropped back to his starting grid position, the Brit was able to stay in touch with the riders ahead for a time. Cal had made his way into the points when the rain started to fall and was among the riders that changed bikes on lap 25. This saw him drop back to 17th, which is also where he finished the race.
Next on the cards for PETRONAS Yamaha SRT will be the British Grand Prix at Silverstone (27-29 August), which will be a home GP for stand-in rider Crutchlow.
“It was a very tricky final few laps in the MotoGP race. We were hoping for a miracle in the extremely difficult track conditions from Valentino, who was third at one point, but the heavy rain with two laps to go prevented this. He finished eighth with Cal 17th, but the fans were able to enjoy some excitement and it was a fantastic show for them. We are happy with the result today.
It was another great effort from Jake today in the Moto2 race, claiming his second 11th position here. Unfortunately Xavi was involved in an incident at the beginning of the race and there was nothing that he could do about it. However, he achieved some more points, which is important.
We are very satisfied with two top-ten places achieved by our Moto3 riders. It isn’t the best track for us, with top speed being very important here, and it was difficult to be competitive. However, we’re happy with John and Darryn’s performance and results. We hope to continue being competitive at Silverstone and look forward to being there in a couple of week’s time.” – Razlan Razali, Team Principal
“It was incredible that the changing point between slick and wet tyres was in the final laps of the race, it made it very exciting. I didn’t want to change bikes because there were only four laps to go and it was the right choice. However, if the rain had arrived two minutes later we could have been on the podium. I was P3 at one point and I was so shocked to see that on my board. Overall it’s a positive day because it was a good result, for both the team and me, and we have taken some points. The atmosphere today was great, because it’s the first time that we have had a full circuit of fans. I had incredible support and there were so many people in yellow, so it was exciting to do the final lap back to the pits. I’m feeling better on the bike and I’m looking forward to the race in Silverstone.” – Valentino Rossi, 8th (+17.150)
“I felt like I got a good start and was with a small group for a while, although I wasn’t able to stay completely in contact with them. My pace was not too bad at that point and I felt comfortable. I had a small problem with the electronics though and I had to spend time trying to figure it out. After this my pace was not too bad but I was the last rider to come to the water, so I didn’t know how fast to go and I didn’t know if everyone had gone in the pits or carried on. Once I saw on the big screen at the last corner that everyone had pulled in, I quickly dived in to change the bike as well. Unfortunately the track was like ice, even with the wet tyres, because the ground was still so hot. It was a strange last couple of laps! Overall I’m happy with these two weekends especially as I only qualified half a tenth slower than I did last year.” – Cal Crutchlow, 17th (+52.950)