Viñales: Ninth was 'maximum' for Yamaha
15 October 2017 – Maverick Viñales says ninth position was the "maximum" possible for Movistar Yamaha at the Japanese Grand Prix, as his title prospects were dealt a substantial blow.
The factory Yamaha outfit has struggled in wet conditions throughout the campaign and was off the pace as rain affected proceedings all weekend at Motegi.
Viñales was eliminated in Q1 and lined up 14th – equalling the worst grid spot of his premier class career – and while he pulled off early gains, made it only as far as eighth, before crossing the line in ninth.
With title rivals Andrea Dovizioso and Marc Márquez battling for victory, Viñales is now 41 points behind the Repsol Honda rider with just three rounds remaining.
"I expected things to be a little bit worse, because this morning [in warm-up] I was trying to be in the top 15," commented Viñales.
"Finally, in the race, I pushed a lot in the beginning. I tried to risk only the necessary, trying to give our best.
"Today this was the maximum and we will have to think now about Australia.
"Until all the points are collected it is impossible to know if there is still a chance to win the championship."
Valentino Rossi, meanwhile, raced in the lower reaches of the top 10 before crashing out on the sixth lap.
"Today was the end of a very difficult weekend," said Rossi.
"Because of the wet conditions I was not very competitive, I was struggling a lot with the wet setting of the bike.
"In the race I was trying to follow Aleix Espargaró and I was trying to stick with him, but unfortunately I crashed.
"Now we'll try to do some good races and it will be important during the next weekends to give Yamaha as much information as possible to improve the bike and to decide on the direction for next year."