Rain and thunder swept the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli to again throw the 2017 MotoGP contest into the realms of mystery and wrecked Movistar Yamaha Maverick Viñales prime chances of a fourth victory of the year after grabbing Pole Position on Saturday. Instead it was Marc Marquez who triumphed as #25 performed admirably to seal fourth place.
There was a hefty Valentino Rossi-shaped hole for the GP San Marino e Riviera di Rimini with the Yamaha star living a mere eight miles from the Adriatic coast venue. A broken leg kept #46 away from the paddock and perhaps firmly out of the four-way championship chase if he cannot return for the next race in Aragon in two weeks time. Cal Crutchlow was also in the wars with a badly cut left forefinger hindering his riding but not dampening his spirit or desire as the Brit still motored his Honda around the Italian curves.
Misano was doused on Sunday and threw initial race strategies to the gutter along with the excess water. Jorge Lorenzo made his customary bright start but was an early victim to the greasy surface. Viñales rode smartly and cautiously.
“I'm happy with the result, because it is the best we could do,” the Spaniard said. “Honestly, today we asked 100% of the bike. We have to continue to work in the same way, because today was a good improvement compared to the wet race at the Sachsenring, especially the handling of the bike. We still need a lot of grip on the traction, so we have to keep going. I'll have to push in Aragón and believe we can close the 16-point gap to our rivals. On the dry we were really fast, I'm happy we made another step here in Misano. I hope we can do the same in Aragón.”
Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Jonas Folger classified just inside the top ten but teammate Johann Zarco should have finished ahead if the Frenchman’s M1 hadn’t ran out of fuel on the last corner. Typical of his spirit and character #5 didn't give up and pushed the bike to the line.
In Rossi’s absence the VR46 set-up was still aptly represented in Moto2 thanks to Sky Racing Team VR46’s Pecco Bagnaia in fourth spot. Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS’s Franco Morbidelli crashed out and lost valuable championship ground to Thomas Luthi who was second and has closed up to within 9 points of the Italian. Alex Marquez was counted out of proceedings after a painful highside crash in practice. Moto3 was first away from a (controversially reshuffled) grid and bore the brunt of the track at its slipperiest and wettest. Enea Bastianini was a casualty as Romano Fenati streaked clear for his second chequered flag and Aron Canet tumbled out of a close dispute for third with just three laps to go.
Motorland, Aragon will draw MotoGP to Spain in two weeks time.