Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP to Start Cathedral Challenge from 1st and 5th Row
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team‘s Maverick Viñales continued the positive momentum he had on Day 1 at the TT Circuit Assen, following it up with a strong Q2 session. He put in some blistering laps, setting the second fastest time. Valentino Rossi was unable to ride the hot lap he had in mind. He missed out on a Q2 spot and will start tomorrow's race from the fifth row on the grid.
Viñales showed great pace all day, and he wasn‘t shy to push in Q2. He was the last rider to hit the track, to ensure himself of some clear space and used it to his advantage. His first lap put him in fourth place, but he was just getting warmed up in the bright Dutch sunshine. He was briefly pushed back to fifth, but replied by clocking the provisional third fastest time and entered the garage with over seven minutes remaining.
This time the Spaniard changed tactics. A quick minute later he dashed out of pit lane to be the first rider to start his final pole position effort. He was putting on his A-game, setting a 1‘32.157s to take pole, with a 0.304s advantage. However, the fight wasn‘t over. A charging Fabio Quartararo spoiled Viñales‘ plans. It was mainly between the two Yamaha men to take the honours, but the number-12 rider was unable to improve on his best lap on the next two attempts and finished the session in second place, 0.140s from first.
It was a disappointing qualifying day for Rossi. He was originally set for a place in Q2, but after the chequered flag came out in FP3, his hot lap was cancelled due to exceeding track limits. As a consequence, he had to take part in Q1.
The Doctor opted for letting most of the rider field exit pit lane ahead of him, before starting his shoot-out. His first lap put him in provisional third place, but the pace was heating up. Unable to improve on his next try (which was also cancelled), he returned to the pits to make some changes whilst lying in fifth place.
With three and a half minutes left, he started his second run on fresh tyres. He put in a 1‘33.336s, briefly moving up to third, and only just missed out on a top-2 result, but later also this time was annulled. He had one more lap left and, though losing some momentum in S2, ended the session in fourth place, with a 1‘33.466, 0,756s from first. He will start tomorrow‘s race from P14, on the fifth row of the grid.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team
"I'm really satisfied. We worked really hard throughout the whole weekend, especially in FP3, when we worked more for the race than focusing on one lap, so this means we have a good set-up. It's important for tomorrow to have a 'normal' and clean race, so I can push from the first lap until the end. I have nothing to lose, so I'll be pushing 110%. It's also very important to be consistent and precise on the track, so you don't miss any corners. I will try to be at my best level tomorrow and get out in front, because it's important for me to ride my own lines. I'm going to start from the front row and fight hard."
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team
"It's a great shame, because this morning I wasn't so bad. I set a very good time on my last lap to get directly into Q2, which is always crucial. But unfortunately I touched the green exit on the last chicane and they cancelled the lap, so I had to go through Q1. I was still quite optimistic, because I was quite strong this morning, but with the higher temperatures I had more problems and less grip. Unfortunately, I was slower, so it was not enough to get into Q2."
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
"Starting from this morning, we had mixed results in the garage. On the bright side, Maverick's speed is impressive. He featured at the top of the timesheets for almost every session this weekend, and it's not just his one-lap speed that's strong, he also has a competitive pace. His first-row start gives him a good chance to be a contender at the front in tomorrow's race, and we think we still have some room for improvement in sector 3. Valentino was originally also lined-up to take part in Q2, but exceeding track limits in FP3 cost him dearly. He had to take part in Q1 and, to make matter worse, didn‘t have a good feeling on his first time attack. The second run was better, but it wasn't enough to get him through to Q2. He will have to start from more towards the back than we had anticipated, but Assen is known for its multi-rider battles at the front, so the aim for him is to have a good start and opening laps tomorrow."