Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales had to adapt quickly to the fast changing track conditions in Q1. He set the 5th fastest time of the session. Valentino Rossi thoroughly enjoyed being back aboard his YZR-M1 today in Valencia but was unable to put his mark on the Q1 session, taking 18th place overall in qualifying. He will be starting tomorrow‘s race from 17th, as Viñales will be starting from pit lane.
Viñales took a little time to start his Q1 outing following a small crash at the end of FP4. His first lap moved him into fifth place, but the fight was still on. With bright sunshine on one side of the circuit and rain on the other, he had to adapt his riding from a dry line in some places to a full wet track in others.
The drying track conditions meant his rear soft wet tyre degraded rapidly. He made a quick pit stop and with a bit more than 3 minutes remaining was back on his way. He improved to a 1‘41.310s on his seventh and last lap, to finish the session in fifth place, 0.539s from first. Normally this would have put him in 15th place on tomorrow‘s starting grid. However, Viñales will be starting from pit lane as a part of the FIM‘s sanction for using a sixth engine, beyond his allocation.
Rossi ventured out quickly for the 15-minute contest on a still wet Ricardo Tormo track. His first attempt immediately put him in P1, with a provisional 1.131s lead. But the battle for the top two positions was just getting started. The number-46 rider improved his time but not his placement and found himself in third.
The Italian weighed his options and decided to stay out on his first set of wet tyres, cooling them on the wetter parts of the circuit. He pushed to the maximum and squeezed out a 1‘42.039s on lap 6/9, which ultimately put him in 18th place in the overall qualifying results, 1.268s from the top. Due to his team-mate starting tomorrow‘s race from pit lane, he will move up to 17th place on the starting grid.