t was a tricky qualifying session this afternoon at the Grand Prix de France. With rain falling frequently, yet the Le Mans Bugatti Grand Prix race circuit drying fast, it was anybody‘s guess which tyre combination would work best in Q2. Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Viñales timed their last-minute dashes for pole on slicks to perfection, securing Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP its first 1-2 start of the 2021 MotoGP season.
Quartararo did one out lap on wets, but soon realised that it would be worth the gamble to swap to his ’dry bike‘. He quickly pulled into the pits and headed back out again with over eleven minutes left on the clock.
With most riders now on slicks and the track drying on every lap, there were red sectors all over the live timing, but the home hero kept his head cool. He waited until his final lap to really push to the limit with the aim of a front-row start. He got what he wanted and more. He set a 1‘32.600s, earning him his third consecutive pole position.
Viñales was the first rider to speed out of the garage at the start of the 15-minute shoot-out and settled in on his wet tyres. He posted a 1‘42.763s, but it soon became clear he would need to head back to the garage for slicks.
The Spaniard quickly returned on his second bike with a dry set-up, ready to put in his bid for pole. He gradually improved his times over the first three laps to get sufficient heat into the tyres. His seventh lap was scratched due to exceeding track limits, and he didn‘t improve his time on his penultimate lap. For his last chance he really put the hammer down, dropping a 1‘32.681s. It earned him second place, 0.081s from first.