Movistar Yamaha Scores Masterful 1-2 in Mugello Qualifying
After showing a stunning pace in Free Practice 3, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi promoted to Q2 and flexed their muscles at the Autodromo del Mugello circuit in the fight for pole position. The teammates secured first and second place respectively on the grid for tomorrow's Gran Premio d'Italia Oakley.
Having amended the setting of his bike to his liking in FP4, Viñales knew what he had to do to get the job done today. He was quick to leave pit lane as qualifying got underway and he didnt hold back. He put in a 1'47.271s on his second flying lap to slot into second place before returning to the box with seven minutes on the clock, but he knew he had more in store for the second stint.
Back on the track, one and half minute later, it was the Spaniard's time to shine. He dominated the field with his third hot lap, a 1'46.575s, to take first place in the rankings. His lap remained unbeaten over the remainder of the session, earning Viñales his third pole of the season, with his teammate coming within 0.239s of his time.
The still recovering Rossi had an eventful start to the day, topping the FP3 and combined time sheets and walking away from a late crash in FP4, but he was his cool and collected self at the start of Q2. Riding with a special Mugello helmet that pays tribute to Nicky Hayden, Marco Simoncelli, and retiring Italian football captain Francesco Totti, the Doctor put his head down on his second flying lap. He dropped a 1'47.539s to take provisional fifth place, before returning to the pits for fresh tyres with seven and half minutes to go.
He left the box almost three minutes later, giving the competition a head start to ensure clear space on track as he joined an intense battle for the front row. Finding himself in eleventh place, he pushed hard to shave a big chunk off his time with his 1'46.814s third attempt, securing second position on the grid, next to his teammate.
Position 1st - Time: 1'46.575
Qualifying was really special and very nice. I gave my 100% and the bike was working really well and I did my best. Honestly, Im so pleased with the work of the team, because we did a really good job in FP4. We modified the bike in a better way and we improved, so Im quite happy about that.
Position 2nd - Time: 1'46.814
Today we did great work, carrying on from yesterday. My condition improved and we also improved the setting of the bike. This morning was the first practice that I ended in P1 this season, so Im very happy because I did a great lap time. This afternoon I was also strong, but unfortunately I made a stupid mistake at the end of FP4 and I slid. Fortunately it was no problem, also because it was with the second bike, I didn't damage the right bike. However, I lost a bit of feeling, so to make this second place was good, even better than normal, because when you start with a mistake, maybe you need it sometimes. I think the race will be very tough from every angle, because it looks like there are six other bikes with the same pace, so to start from the front row is very important.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - Team Director
Today was not without its challenges, but in the end we couldnt have asked for a better result. Maverick already showed great speed yesterday and today he got his chance to set the pole position lap exactly right, with a very strong 1'46.575s. Valentino also gave a seriously impressive performance, starting with the free practice session this morning and he again delivered in the afternoon. Despite his injury he has been showing superb form, finishing just 0.239s off pole. We still have some doubts concerning the set-up that we have to look into, so tomorrows warm up is going to be decisive.
Tech3 duo primed for round six battle tomorrow in the Tuscan hills
Tech3 duo primed for round six battle tomorrow in the Tuscan hills Johann Zarco will begin the Italian Grand Prix from the fourth row of the grid after delivering a spirited performance in the challenging qualifying campaign today. After topping FP4, the French star coolly waited until the final six minutes of Q1 before taking to the track. He then set a superb lap, which saw him clinch 1st and able to progress through to Qualifying 2. Here, he continued pushing and eventually finished with a time that was just 0.269 back from the second row.
Meanwhile, Jonas Folger will surge forward from 15th on the grid. The young German got straight to work in Q1 but his promising charge was unfortunately cut short after a fall in the final moments at turn 11. Nevertheless, he sustained no injuries and his confident performances so far this weekend leave him fully fired up for the race.
Position 11th - Time: 1'47.319
"It was the best decision to wait in Q1 and then push in the last moments. However, when you give all of your energy to set a good time, its difficult to give the same amount in the second session without risking everything. I made it through to Q2, yet there, the other riders had a lot of grip with the new tyres and they could take advantage of this for a single lap, but I have not quite able to do that so far this weekend. I did my best but I didnt want to crash so eventually I finished 11th. It was a bit of a tough Saturday overall, and in the morning all the riders got a better feeling, yet, I began to struggle a little bit, which meant that I lost out on Q2. Anyway, I am very happy about my performance in FP4 because riding with the soft tyres was ok, but when we ran with the harder compound there was an improvement. There are some positive points when the tyres become worn so this can be my advantage tomorrow. When I start from 11th, I need to keep calm, but from the midpoint of the race I can make a difference and I am confident."
Position 15th - Time: 1'47.305
"Although I will start the GP from further back than where I would like, Im certain that we can still do a good job tomorrow. FP4 went positively and we found the confidence that we needed for the qualifying and then, at the beginning of Q1, I felt comfortable and I completed two solid laps. Just after this, I returned to the pit box to change the tyres and I decided to keep the same front. In the end, I pushed really hard but at the 11th corner, at the exit of the chicane, I lost the front. We have to analyse why this happened, yet I didnt hurt myself and my final lap time was ok. Im sure that I could have improved but when you get close to the limit, sometimes these things happen. We still have to decide on which tyre we will use for tomorrows race, but nevertheless, I am looking forward to the fight."