After a less than perfect start that saw him drop from sixth on the grid to ninth, Rossi re-grouped and started to work his way back through the pack. Displaying his trademark efficiency the nine-time world champion made short work of the opening laps, passing Andrea Dovizioso, Stefan Bradl and finally Cal Crutchlow for fourth in turn seven. Rossi then began to close down Andrea Iannone and looked confident of scoring a podium finish until a sudden loss of grip on the right side of the front tyre left him unable to keep his pace, dropping him to eighth which he held to the line.
Teammate Jorge Lorenzo experienced his second Grand Prix weekend to forget today, making a jump start at the beginning of the race and receiving a ride-through penalty as a result. He pitted immediately at the end of the opening lap and re-joined at the back of the field in 23rd. The four-time world champion then showed his dedication and professionalism, working hard to move back through the pack to earn his first championship points of the season. As he crossed the finish line he did so in tenth position, less than four seconds from Rossi in eighth.
The eighth place finish gains Rossi a further eight points to give a total of 28, dropping him to third on the overall standings. Lorenzo’s tenth place earns his first championship points of the season, putting him in 16th with six points.
The championship stays outside of Europe for round three, moving south for the Gran Premio de la República Argentina on 27th April. (fnc)