First and Fourth Row Start for Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP in Germany
Bright sunshine set the scene at the start of today‘s qualifying sessions at the Sachsenring. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales showed great speed in Q2. Despite not being able to set the perfect hot lap, he took third place, on the front row of the grid. Valentino Rossi had to go through the Q1 session, which he dominated, and took the eleventh starting position for tomorrow‘s Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland.
Viñales left the box as soon as the pit lane lights turned green at the start of the Q2 session. He opted for a hard-hard tyre combination on his first of three runs in total, using a two-stop strategy, and was feeling confident of a top-3 result as he had just finished FP4 in first place.
The Yamaha rider‘s first lap put him in fourth position, and he moved up to third on his next try but found himself in fourth place again as other riders completed their efforts. He then returned to the pits to get some fresh rubber, switching to the soft rear tyre.
After the quick stop, the Spaniard was in fifth. Though he was held up behind another rider, he still reclaimed fourth on his next attempt, but it didn‘t last long. Holding fifth place again, he returned to the pits once more to also give the medium front tyre a try.
Knowing how difficult it is to overtake at the Sachsenring, the number-12 rider was determined to get a front row start. He pushed hard and set a 1‘20.406s on his penultimate hot lap to briefly take second place and ultimately finished the session in third, 0.211s from pole.
Rossi missed the top-10 in FP3 by only 0.007s, meaning he had to take part in Q1 to earn a spot in Q2.
The Doctor let the other riders take a head start, so he could commence his shoot-out without any traffic. He used the medium-hard tyre combination for his benchmark lap, which put him directly into provisional first place. When the pace picked up he was pushed back to third, but the Italian was already on a second fast lap, to take over top billing once more. He improved his time again on lap 3, to a 1‘21.236s, before heading to pit lane holding a 0.144s advantage.
After a quick stop to switch to a soft rear tyre, the Yamaha rider was back on his way. In the final minutes he was pushed back to second place, but the nine-time World Champion had a trick up his sleeve. He posted his first lap under the 1‘21s-mark, a 1‘20.933s, at exactly the right moment. He gained the number one spot and held on to it with a 0.169s advantage until the chequered flag came out.
Unfortunately a crash in the final stages of Q1 meant the crew had a quick repair job to do for the next session. With the help of Maverick's side of the garage, Rossi was able to participate on his first bike. His initial try in Q2 put him in ninth place, but he soon dropped to tenth. He improved his time but not his placement on the next lap and returned to the box.
On his second run he temporarily moved up to eighth with a 1‘21.137s, but he was unable to further improve on this time on the next two laps and ended the day in 11th place, 0.942s from the top.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team
“I‘m really happy because we achieved today‘s objective. It‘s true that we could have done better, but we are improving the bike quite a lot. I didn‘t expect to be that close in qualifying, because the gap was bigger in FP3. We need to keep working like this. I feel great on the bike, especially my rhythm is good, but it will be very important to make another step this evening. We are going to try our best to go for the win. Managing tyre degradation will be crucial tomorrow, so we‘re going to try to make that work for us. I don‘t know which tyre I will use yet, because the weather will be very different from what we had today.”
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team
"My team did a great job! They were able to recover the bike in just ten minutes between Q1 and Q2, because that was the bike I felt better on. In Q2 I was able to finish at the top, but unfortunately after that I had a small crash, and I lost the feeling a little. It was a shame I couldn't make the same lap times during Q2 as I did before, so I have to start a bit further down the grid. My pace is not so bad, but on a hot lap I suffered a bit, I didn't feel fantastic, especially at the last part of the race track. We'll see tomorrow, also because it looks like the conditions for tomorrow will be different from today."
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
“Maverick has shown good speed all day, not just on one lap, but also his race pace is strong. The aim for him was to get a front row start and he delivered. It‘s a very positive result because this third-place start could be very important for his race tomorrow. It was a shame Vale had to go through Q1, because we were actually quite confident this morning in FP3 that he would be in Q2, but he missed out by just 0.007s. Q1 is always a big fight, but we knew his feeling is not bad anyway, and he topped most of the session. His crash at the end of Q1 did damage to his number one bike, meaning the team had a rush job to do! Thanks to great teamwork and the help of Maverick's crew we managed to get his bike ready for Q2 again, but all the little setbacks ultimately resulted in him taking 11th. We will work hard tonight to make another step for tomorrow, but we need to keep in mind that the weather and track conditions will be very different from today. Adapting to the circumstances, as well as maintaining tyre life, will be vital in the race.”