Third and Sixth Row Start for Monster Energy Yamaha at Mugello
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales put up a fight in a hot Q2 and secured 7th place on the grid for tomorrow‘s Gran Premio d‘Italia Oakley. Valentino Rossi aimed to battle his way through Q1 after finishing outside the combined top-10 results in this morning's FP3 session, but couldn't find the pace he was looking for. He will be starting the race from 18th position.
Viñales showed he had a strong pace, especially in sectors 1-3. He was keen on putting his agility to good use in the Q2 session and immediately positioned his YZR-M1 in fourth place on his first flying lap. He was pushed down a couple of positions soon after, but only briefly, as he responded by clocking a 1‘46.181s to take second place.
With more than six minutes remaining he was back in the pit box for a fresh set of tyres. There was a 0.336s-gap to bridge to snatch pole, so the Spaniard set out to give it another go. When he didn‘t improve on his next try, he was lying in fifth place. He gritted his teeth and set three personal best sectors but again couldn‘t better his time, taking seventh on the grid for tomorrow's race, 0.662s from first.
Rossi had to contest in Q1, after only just missing out on a place inside the top-10 in this morning‘s FP3 session. The local hero let the majority of the riders go out ahead of him and also held back on his first flyer, so he had plenty of clear space on track to put in a hot lap on his second attempt, moving up from 11th to 7th.
The Doctor hurried into the pits with seven minutes on the clock. Two minutes later he was back on the track and after his sighting lap he, in theory, had just enough time left for two more tries. However, the Italian wasn‘t able to improve his time on his next go and just fractionally missed the opportunity to get another lap in. With other riders completing their final laps, he was pushed back to eighth place. He finished 0.906s off the fastest Q1 time and will start tomorrow‘s race from P18 on the grid.
Maverick Vinales, 7th - 1'46.181
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team
"My pace is really good, but starting from seventh is always very difficult, very tough. We're going to try to make a good start and ride some good first laps, which we have been working really hard on this weekend. Anyway, the race is always different, so then we will see where we are. The bike is moving a lot, I'm fighting it every lap. But anyway, luckily I'm physically really fit. I think I can arrive at the end of the race in a good condition. It's going to be a tough and long race, with many bikes and overtakes, so we have to be smart and also manage the tyres."
Valentino Rossi, 18th - 1'47.184
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team
"This morning was quite a good practice. At the end I was on a good lap to get inside the top-10, but unfortunately I made a mistake in the last corner, and after that I had to go to Q1. In the afternoon, in FP4, I used a used tyre but, sincerely, I wasn't very fast, so that's when I realised it would be difficult to try to get into Q2. In Q1 we waited a bit and I took the chequered flag at the end. But anyway, I was too slow to get into Q2, unfortunately. Tomorrow we will try something different, because today – though we already improved the pace a lot compared to yesterday – it's not enough. So in tomorrow's Warm Up it will be very interesting to try to find something better. After that, the race will be hard, because I will start far towards the back and my pace is not fantastic. We need to stay concentrated, give the maximum, and try to take some points."
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
"Today didn‘t play out the way we wanted it to. We made some small steps in the morning. Maverick promoted to Q2 without too much trouble, but at the end of FP3 it became clear that Vale would have to join Q1 because of an issue in the last corner, which ultimately proved very costly for him today. Valentino struggled to set the pace required to get into Q2 and, unfortunately, in the end the strategy he chose didn't work out. Maverick showed competitive lap times in his first stint of Q2, but he couldn't push the way he wanted to on the second run. Most likely the hard front tyre would have been the better option for him in qualifying. The team will be working hard all night to find a solution that we can test in tomorrow‘s Warm Up. Starting from row three and six is very difficult, so the start of the race will be crucial. Both riders will be pushing early on to battle their way up the order."