Monster Energy Yamaha to Start Aragon Attack From 1st and 2nd Row
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales had to go all out in a sunny qualifying session at the MotorLand Aragón to secure himself a second consecutive front-row start. Valentino Rossi was unable to climb up the order on his first Q2 run but turned it all around on his second outing, securing sixth place on the second row of the grid.
Viñales had been consistently strong in all free practice sessions and was keen on putting his speed to the test in Q2. He let most of the riders exit pit lane before he stepped aboard his YZR-M1 to set a flying lap, and posted a 1'48.159s for provisional pole. Knowing the times would drop, the Spaniard kept pushing. He improved his time but found himself in fourth place as he headed back to the pit box for fresh tyres.
With about four minutes remaining, the local hero was back on track. It was not before long that the number-12 rider was setting personal best sectors to take over second place with a 1'47.472s. Unable to get another fast lap in, he ended the session in third place, 0.463s from pole.
Rossi was on the same strategy as his team-mate. With clear space ahead of him on track he got into time-attack mode immediately. He stuck his Yamaha in sixth place on his first try, but the level of the session kept rising. The Italian improved his time on his next lap but was down to tenth place as he ended his first run.
With six minutes left on the clock, the Doctor pulled up to the pit garage for a quick stop before commencing his second run. Pushing 100 per cent, he was flashing all orange sectors on his next attempt, producing a 1'48.015s. It was his last fast lap and it briefly moved him up to fifth. He ultimately finished in sixth place, 1.006s from first.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team
“Honestly, the qualifying has been quite good because I felt good with the bike straight away. We need to keep working and keep this momentum going. This year we have different lap times than last year. Our main rival is faster, the others remain similar, and we are getting closer. This is a track where we struggle a lot - especially in sector 4 with all the long straights - but tomorrow we have a chance to fight at the front, and we will try our best. The action will happen in the first laps, so I will try to be at the front, and then we‘ll see. It‘s going to be difficult. The rear tyre is still a bit of a question mark, we will try to choose the best one.”
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team
"At the end the results are not so bad. When you start from the first two rows it means that you can do a good race, because you're not so far from the pole position. The guys in front are all strong and also our pace is quite good. We still have to work. Today we tried some different things in FP4. To fight for the podium, I need a bit more speed, a few tenths, but we'll try because we're not far from the front. I did a good lap, it wasn't so bad. I made one or two small mistakes, so I could have done a 1'47s, but it wouldn't have improved my position so it's OK."
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
“Today was not very straightforward, because the weather and track conditions changed a bit since the rain in the early morning. That said, our plan to be inside the top 10 after yesterday‘s FP2 worked in our favour because it gave Maverick and Valentino direct placement into Q2. This allowed us to focus on working on the bike and the new parts during today‘s free practice sessions. We are feeling quite positive about our performances today, considering our priorities. Starting from the first two rows was our goal, and that‘s what we achieved. But there‘s still some room for improvement for tomorrow and we will put a lot of effort into it tonight. We will use the Warm Up to check what we're able to do and to make a final decision on the tyres.”