Faced with damp conditions in FP3, Rossi found himself on the entry list for Q1. As the drizzle continued throughout the afternoon, the Italian made the bold decision at the end of FP4 to head out on slicks at the start of Q1 – the only rider to do so. With the track temperature between 15-17?, his first lap put him in 11th place, but it was all part of the plan. His next attempt put him in first place with a 1‘39.074s, and he was only getting faster.
With the tyres up to temperature he dropped a 1‘37.667s, giving him a 1.595s lead over his closest rival, whilst his opponents were in the box to change to slick tyres. His time remained unthreatened for the remainder of the session and saw him through to Q2.
The Doctor stuck to the same strategy in the second 15-minute shoot-out, but this time the gamble didn‘t pay off. He quickly switched to wets and set the provisional eighth fastest time on his first try. He gained another place on his next lap and kept firing in personal best sectors. Despite the rain intensifying, he moved up to fifth with a 1.41.655s, 0.703s from first. His hard work today earns him a place in the middle of the second row.
Viñales had watched his team-mate‘s performance in Q1 and decided to also opt for the slick tyres at the start of Q2. He had let everyone leave pit lane ahead of him in order to have clear space on track, but with the rain becoming heavier, he had to return to the garage immediately to change to wet tyres.
With a little less than eleven minutes to go, he was back out to set his first flyer, that moved him up to ninth position. However, with the pace increasing he was pushed down to tenth place. He improved his time on his fourth lap to 1‘42.555s, but it kept him in eleventh place, 1.603s from first. The Spaniard will start tomorrow‘s race from the fourth row.