Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi went all out in this afternoon‘s qualifying sessions. Viñales gave his utmost in Q2 and secured a place on the second row of the grid. Rossi was on a hot lap in the final stages of Q1, aiming to promote to Q2, but a crash in the last sector ended his challenge, leaving him on the fifth row.
Viñales was the first rider out on track in Q2, showing his eagerness to get onto the front row for tomorrow‘s Grand Prix of Styria. His first flying lap put him in eighth, but that was just him gearing up for his second try, resulting in a 1‘24.217s. It briefly earned him P1 but later was cancelled due to exceeding track limits. His next attempt, a 1‘23.880s, had him hold fourth position before he headed to the pits with seven and a half minutes remaining.
Three minutes later he revved up his YZR-M1 once more. He was unable to improve on his next two laps but crossed the start-finish line just before the chequered flag came out. He was in tenth position and had one last chance to move up the order. He pushed, setting a personal best sector, followed by a red sector and two personal best sectors to earn sixth place with a 1‘23.778s, 0.198s from pole. However, as Johann Zarco has to start tomorrow's race from pit lane as a penalty handed out by the FIM MotoGP Stewards Panel for irresponsible riding in last week's race, Viñales moves up to fifth place on the grid.
Rossi was one of the last riders to leave pit lane in Q1 to avoid being followed whilst setting a flying lap. His first attempt put him in third place. Unable to improve on the next hot lap, he dropped back to eighth, but The Doctor was just preparing for another personal best. A 1‘24.327s put him in fourth.
The Italian then went back to the box for a fresh rear tyre. He was 0.162s off a place in Q2 and up for the challenge, with more than 5 minutes left on the clock. He set a 1‘24.127s for provisional P1, but it didn‘t last long. The number-46 rider was pushed back to fourth as rivals also put in their best efforts. He was on a good lap in his final try, setting two red and one orange sector, but his time attack came to an end in Turn 9. He crashed but was able to walk away uninjured. He ended the session in fifth place, which means he will start the race from P14 on the grid, as Zarco will be starting from pit lane.