Rossi Secures Front Row Start in Brno
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Valentino Rossi had the fans on the edge of their seats in today's Q2 session. He left his best time-attack effort until his very last lap to secure 2nd place on the grid for tomorrow's Monster Energy Grand Prix Ceské republiky. Maverick Viñales breezed through Q1 but was unable to get hold of the same feeling in Q2 and took 12th position.
Rossi was eager to reproduce the P1 result he set in this morning's FP3 session, especially since he loves the Automotodrom Brno so much. The Italian let most riders leave ahead of him before making his way down pit lane. His second hot lap put him in tenth place, but he knew he could push more.
He arrived back in the pitbox with six and a half minutes on the clock. After a quick stop the Doctor was ready for his final run and had time for two more tries. Though his first attempt didn't succeed, he started the second with a red sector, followed by personal bests in the remaining three. This resulted in a strong 1'54.956s, moving him up from twelfth to second place, with a 0.267s gap to pole.
Viñales had to come through Q1 but did so without much opposition from the other riders. His first flyer, a 1'56.109s, put him in first place. The youngster then returned to the pit box with slightly less than eight minutes remaining.
Two minutes later he returned out on track for his second run. He upped his level even further, setting four red sectors to clock a 1'55.538s, putting him more than 0.6s ahead of the field for the time being. The number 25 rider kept pushing but was unable to improve. Nevertheless, he safely came through Q1 with a 0.314s advantage.
A brief stop later, he headed back out for the second qualifying. His initial attempt, a 1'55.823s, put him in seventh place, but he dropped to tenth as the pace quickened. The Spaniard stuck to the same strategy as in Q1 and made his way back to pit lane early, with eight minutes remaining.
With six minutes on the clock he headed back out, eager to climb the rankings. However, he was unable to make a further improvement and ended Q2 in 12th place, 1.134s from the top.
Position: 2nd - Time: 1'54.956 - Laps: 7
"It's true that it was very difficult with these hot temperatures. I knew I could be quite competitive with a new tyre, because already this morning I did a good lap. This afternoon I was able to improve. I pushed that bit more and rode very much on the limit on braking and entry. A 1'54.9s is a great lap time. I'm very happy, especially with this temperature! For tomorrow's race it's very important to start from the front row. My race pace isn't fantastic, after some laps I will suffer, but for sure we will try."
Position: 12th - Time: 1'55.823 - Laps: 7
"I tried to focus on the here and now and give the maximum. There's still a lot of points up for grabs. We're going to try to keep doing our best. I used the medium tyre in Q1, thinking the hard was going to be better for Q2, but finally it turned out to be the opposite, with the medium I felt much better. It didn't leave me with any questions: the medium was much better, with the hard it was difficult to push. There's still a lot of room for improvement. This weekend our setting isn't perfect, so we need to keep working. I don't think I will use the harder tyre tomorrow. I will see if I can make the soft last, and if it gives me something extra on the first laps. Let's see tomorrow, I will try my best as always."
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - Team Director
"First of all, congratulations to Valentino for securing the front row. It wasn't easy to accomplish this in today's heat. He already showed he had the speed to do it this morning and he proved it again when it mattered most. Maverick also did a good job in Q1, he was clearly the strongest rider of the field. It was a pity he didn't feel as comfortable on the bike on the harder tyre in Q2, because starting from the fourth row will make tomorrow's race a challenge. As for the race pace, we made a step today, but we're not satisfied yet. We will continue to work on tyre degradation with the aim to give Vale and Maverick the best package possible for tomorrow's race, which will be hard on both the riders and the tyres."
Zarco and Syahrin Set to Launch Czech Republic Attack from Third and Sixth Row
In scorching conditions Monster Yamaha Tech3 star Johann Zarco initiated Saturday in Brno with one second off his pace from Friday morning and was able to improve again during Qualifying this afternoon. In a tough battle, he finally missed out on the pole time by just half a second and will start the Monster Energy Grand Prix Ceske Republiky from the front of the third row.
On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 garage Hafizh Syahrin did some great steps in the course of the second day. The Malaysian rookie was working hard on his pace, which proved to be the right direction as he improved his lap time from FP1 to FP3 by 1.415 seconds. In Qualifying he was fighting the heat to eventually end up in sixth, whereby he missed out on Q2 by only 0.433 seconds. Syahrin is primed to start his tenth MotoGP race tomorrow at 14.00 local time from the sixth row of the grid.
Position: 7th - Time: 1’55.221 - Laps: 7
"Today has been good, I got a decent feeling on the bike and I think it's always great to work well with the team. I'm also happy that I was able to get into Q2 directly as with the hot weather it's always useful to save some energy. In Qualifying I found improvements from the first to the second exit, but everyone is just so fast. In the end, it was simply not enough to find myself fin the first two rows. The competition is high, it's MotoGP and I want to enjoy that because it pushes myself to the limit."
Position: 16th - Time: 1’56.285 - Laps: 6
"The Qualifying has been really tough for me. I thought I could challenge the top, but apparently I was struggling a bit with the rear soft tyre. Anyway, we are not very far from Franco Morbidelli, who is quickest rookie. I aim to find a comfortable feeling with the setup of the bike during the Warm Up on Sunday morning and try to have a good start for tomorrows' race. I'm sorry to my team and all my fans that I didn't manage to get a better Qualifying position in order to start more in front."