Maverick Viñales Takes Perfect Pole in Misano
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP will start the Tribul Mastercard GP S.Marino e Riviera di Rimini - the team's second home race of the season - from pole position, after a superb performance from Maverick Viñales in this afternoon's qualifying session.
Viñales was the last rider to leave pit lane at the start of the 15-minute shoot-out, knowing that the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli is relatively short and that he would have enough time to set a fast lap. However, once on his way, he didn't waste a minute to make his mark. He immediately put his YZR-M1 on top with a 1'33.408s lap.
The Spaniard was temporarily pushed back to second place shortly after completing his first flying lap, but the 22-year-old was not having it. He improved to a 1'32.833s to reclaim provisional pole. Nevertheless, the battle for pole was far from over.
Once again the young gun dropped to second position, with less than eight and a half minutes to go. This time, Viñales couldn't retaliate straight away, though he improved his best lap to a 1'32.652s, and returned to the box with six minutes remaining.
One and a half minutes later, he was back out on track, eager to close the 0.016s margin to the man in first. He was unsuccessful on the first flying lap of his second run, but the number 25 rider had time for two more tries. Now in third place, he made the next attempt count, setting a personal best first sector and all red sectors in the last three parts of the track to post a magnificent 1'32.439s for pole. He held the top spot until the flag came out, with a gap of 0.162s to his closest rival, and will start tomorrow's race from the front of the grid.
Position: 1st - Time: 1'32.439 - Laps: 9
"The qualifying went really well. I was feeling great on the bike, the team did a really good job! Yesterday and especially this afternoon we modified the bike a little bit and I was feeling better, so for tomorrow the strategy will be to try and stay consistent, keep the tyres on a good temperature - it's important not to have cold tyres, especially on the first laps. I'm going to start from first and try to ride at my own pace. I'm happy with how things are going and let's see what will happen tomorrow. I'm confident that we can do a great race. For sure there are many riders who can be contenders. For tomorrow, we will have to try to make another step, if we want to win this race."
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - Team Director
"Today was very productive for us and it shows in the results - what an amazing 1'32.439s lap by Maverick! It was well deserved, as Maverick and the team did a brilliant job yesterday and today and have shown great speed throughout each session. He is improving every time he heads out on track, and to take pole at the team's second home Grand Prix of the season - for the first time since Mugello - is perfect. However, tomorrow's race will be long and chances are that the conditions will be very different from what we had on track today. We will have to keep an open mind at the start of the warm up tomorrow and adapt to whatever the weather may bring."
Determined Zarco to Charge from 6th Folger Endures Luckless Qualifying
Johann Zarco will leap forward from the rear of the second row of the grid after an accomplished performance in the blustery but sunny qualifying 2 shootout today In San Marino. The rapid rookie built up his pace before storming to a lap that left him 0.249 back from the front row and tomorrow, he intends to undertake a rocket start and then duel with the leading MotoGP bikes.
Meanwhile, Jonas Folger impressively blazed to the top of the time sheets in Q1, yet his lap was unfortunately cancelled due to exceeding the track limits by a hair's breadth at turn 16. As a result, his previous best time leaves him in 16th on the grid but he confidently awaits the race where he aims to fight for the top independent honours.
Position: 6th - Time: 1'32.885 - Laps: 8
"I am pretty happy about the work that the team and I have completed since yesterday. We were focused on being fast but comfortable, and it was complicated yet this morning I improved my lap time which was positive, even if I crashed. Then, this afternoon, I am pleased about how the qualifying went as I felt that it was possible to be quick and I used two tyres. On the first one, I did a good lap time, so I kept the energy and pushed on the last three laps. 6th on the grid is really important for the Grand Prix because, if it is dry, I can be ready to fight and try to run the high pace that Marquez and Viñales have. However, if it is wet, it will be very important to judge the conditions quickly to see if we can push or if we have to be careful. We don't know exactly what will happen but the best scenario for me is if the GP starts and ends on the same bike, even if it's wet or dry. Yet, if it is a flag to flag race, then I will try to see when the top guys pit and maybe change the bike at that moment. If the weather is changing then warm up will help us a lot to understand the track but we are ready for either condition."
Position: 16th - Time: 1'33.987 - Laps: 8
"It has been a difficult weekend, but I am still positive due to the fact that I rode a fast lap in qualifying. However, it was cancelled because I just went off the track and touched the red part of the curve on the last exit. Anyway, there is no profit to take but these are the rules. Yet, the good thing is that we made this time and we could have gone to Q2. The weather is expected to change tomorrow but for me, it doesn't matter if it's wet or not. We know now that I have a solid pace in the dry and if it rains, it will be important to gain confidence as soon as possible. I will start from 16th, so if it is damp then we have to take advantage of the conditions and maybe take a few more risks whilst also being as confident as possible. After the tricky times that we've had recently, hopefully we can have an important and positive race tomorrow and collect a lot of points."