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Double Front-Row Start for Monster Energy Yamaha at the Qatar GP

Double Front-Row Start for Monster Energy Yamaha at the Qatar GP

The pressure was on during today‘s Q2 session in Qatar. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Viñales withstood the pressure, both riding times under the previous all-time lap record and planting their YZR-M1s firmly on the front row in 2nd and 3rd place respectively.

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Viñales will start the first race of the season from the front row of the grid. Both riders set times in Q2 that were under the previous all-time lap record of the Losail International Circuit, and they secured 2nd and 3rd place respectively.

Quartararo and Viñales waited at the start of the Q2 session to be ensured of some clear space on track for their hot laps.

On his first try Quartararo secured second place, but it was just the beginning. He showed it wasn‘t a lucky shot when he posted another impressive lap time, a 1‘53.038s, for provisional first place. The time remained unthreatened as all riders returned to the pits for a fresh set of tyres.

The Frenchman re-entered the track on his own again with slightly more than four minutes left on the clock. Unable to improve on his earlier time on his first try, he had hoped to be able to push for one more lap, but it wasn‘t to be. He missed out on the chance of another lap by just a second. Still, his 1‘53.038s kept him firmly in second place, 0.266s from first.

Viñales had found clear space on track and slotted his M1 into third place on his benchmark lap. The pace was increasing rapidly, with many sectors in the live timing flashing orange and red. The Spaniard responded by defending his position with a 1‘53.260s, to stay third, 0.222s from his teammate in first.

With exactly five minutes to go, the number 12-rider started his second run. He briefly secured second place with a 1‘53.124 before he was pushed back to fourth. He had one more try and made it count. He improved his time by 0.036s to a 1'53.088s and took third place, with a 0.316s margin to the fastest time.

Fabio Quartararo

"It‘s a shame that I couldn‘t do a second flying lap on my second run – I took the chequered flag by a second. But I‘m still quite happy. We did a great lap. In FP4 we tried something that I didn‘t like. I didn‘t feel good on the bike, but I feel like we have great potential for tomorrow. We will be using the qualifying bike, because that‘s the one I feel good on. I think we did a great job in qualifying. All that remains is the race. I can‘t wait!"

Maverick Viñales

"I‘m really happy because our objective was to be on the front row. On the last lap there was a lot of dust in Turn 1, so I didn‘t push the way I wanted, but in the end I rode a 1‘53.0s that I‘m quite happy about. The bike was working amazing this evening. I enjoyed the bike a lot in FP4, and I was riding well. But I think there are still some things that we can improve. I‘m happy that overall we are fast. This is good for us, and I just want to congratulate the team that in the end we have found a good bike and that we are ready for tomorrow."

Massimo Meregalli

Team Director

"Getting a good starting position is crucial for us in Doha, and we got the job done. We secured a double front row in today's qualifying, even with dust picking up in Q2. The Yamahas are performing well, with three of them in the top 4. If they have a good start, they will be able to really push and make the most of the strong points of the M1, riding 'Yamaha lines'. We have the pace to be front-runners. There are some little areas that we will try to improve during the Warm Up. The weather forecasts predict lower temperatures and stronger winds for tomorrow, so that is something to consider as we prepare for the race."