2019 MotoGP of Austria - Red Bull Ring / Spielberg
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Start Spielberg Race From Second and Fourth Row
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales again was a main contender on the second day at the Red Bull Ring – Spielberg track, but missed out on a front-row start by just 0.008s, taking fourth place on the grid. Valentino Rossi made great progress in FP3 but couldn't emulate the good feeling in qualifying and will start tomorrow‘s race from tenth place.
Viñales showed just how keen he was on getting the show on the road at the start of Q2, waiting at the end of pit lane for the light to go green before heading out at the very first opportunity. With clear track in front of him, he immediately went top on his benchmark lap and confirmed his form on the next, but was later pushed back to second.
He quickly headed to the box with about nine minutes remaining and came back out with a soft rear tyre. He set personal best first sectors early on but dropped off in the latter stages of his third and fourth flying lap. Refusing to give in, the Spaniard made it work on his fifth try, bettering his time to a 1'23.523s but not his placement. Unable to improve on his last two laps, he ended the session in fourth place, 0.496s from pole.
Rossi was on the same strategy as his team-mate, heading out on a medium-medium tyre spec for his first run. His initial attempt put him in fourth place, but he was moved to seventh as competitors completed their second hot lap. The Yamaha man responded with a 1‘23.899s, which briefly put him in second place. However, as the pace quickened, he found himself in seventh again when he returned to pit lane with a little more than seven minutes on the clock.
Less than two minutes later the Italian was back on his way. He put his head down and dropped a 1‘23.817s lap that put him in provisional sixth position, but the final minutes of the session proved to be decisive. Unable to better his time on his last two laps on the soft rear tyre around the abrasive Spielberg track, the Doctor finished Q2 in 10th place, 0.790s from first.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team
“Honestly, I‘m really happy because we worked in a good way today, but anyway we have to keep trying because we lose a few tenths on the straights which we have to recover on the brakes and corner speed. We have to keep working hard to see if we can improve. The way the bike is working in the corners is really good, so the chassis is really nice. I don‘t know what the weather will be like tomorrow, we will just try our best and then we‘ll see. After all, the conditions are the same for everyone, so we need to keep working to understand how to be fast when there‘s less grip.”
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team
“Especially this morning‘s FP3 was a good practice session, because with a race tyre I have a good pace. In FP4 I suffered more, because we used very old tyres to understand if our level is also not so bad at the end of the race. Because of this, my position was quite bad, but it wasn‘t realistic. A lot of people put in new tyres while we were working with the very old ones. But I‘m not very happy about my tenth position on the grid, I had hoped to do better. In the quali I made some mistakes and didn‘t ride at the maximum. The problem is that from P5 to P12 we are all very closely together. Starting from the fourth row will be hard, but my pace is quite good, I‘m not so bad. But also for the race, a lot of riders are fast, so we need to understand the condition tomorrow and then we‘ll see.”
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
“The grip at the Spielberg track is good, so we have been trying to use it to our advantage, and that has allowed us to make another step today for the race. But, honestly speaking, we had hoped to be more towards the front of the grid. The objective was a first or second-row start for both riders. Maverick lost out on the front row by 0.008s, but this doesn‘t take away from the fact that he has been consistently present inside the top 3 in every practice session. He has been quite impressive this weekend so far, so we now just have to keep focused and make sure he can fight at the front tomorrow. Valentino made a good step this morning in FP3. He worked hard on his race pace, also on used tyres, and is feeling positive. Unfortunately, he didn't have the qualifying session he wanted, so he will have to start from the fourth row. It‘s going to be a difficult race for him because overtaking won't be easy here, but we'll work hard tonight and tomorrow morning. Our pace overall is OK, so we have the potential.”