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Rossi and Vinales to Start Monster Energy Catalan GP from 1st and 2nd Row

Rossi and Vinales to Start Monster Energy Catalan GP from 1st and 2nd Row

It was a close fight today at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya during the Q2 session, which promises a brilliant Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya for tomorrow. Valentino Rossi put his YZR-M1 in third place, rounding out a Yamaha front-row lock-out, the second of the 2020 season. Maverick Viñales was also in the mix in the early stages of the 15-minute shoot-out, but ultimately finished in fifth place.

On an already momentous day, after signing his contract for 2021, Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Valentino Rossi gave his fans even more reason to cheer as he secured a place on the front row for the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya. Maverick Viñales was looking threatening in the early part of the 15-minute shoot-out but wasn‘t able to put his mark on Q2 like he had planned. He will start tomorrow‘s race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya from P5.

Rossi was quick to head out in the Q2 session. His 1‘39.851s put him on provisional pole, only to be beaten by his team-mate a few moments later. Unable to further improve, he returned to pit lane with about six and a half minutes remaining.

The Doctor, however, saved the best for his second stint. In the final three minutes he found himself in seventh place, but not for long. Setting two red and one orange sector, the Italian showed superb speed. He produced a 1‘39.129s, on lap 6/7, which put him in third place, 0.331s from pole. This means he will start his 350th premier-class Grand Prix from the front row tomorrow. This is Yamaha‘s second front-row lock-out of the 2020 season, and it‘s also Rossi‘s first front-row start since the 2019 British Grand Prix. 

Viñales waited for all rivals to leave pit lane before stepping aboard his YZR-M1. He set a 1‘39.655s on his first try, landing him, though briefly, the P1 spot. With no time to waste, he was already on his way back to the pit for a fresh rear tyre as the pace quickened. 

When he got back out on track, there were multiple riders vying for the two front rows. Top Gun responded by riding a 1‘39.371s for fourth place. He had time for two more tries but wasn‘t able to make further strides. He ended the session in fifth place, 0.573s from first.

Valentino Rossi

"It‘s a great result to be on the front row. Today is a special day, because I signed the contract for next year, I‘m very happy. We worked well from yesterday, and today in FP4 I had good pace, also with the used tyre. So, I knew I could do a good lap, but it‘s not always easy. At the end, I was able to push at the limit, riding well without making any mistakes. I‘m very happy to be on the front row, because this is very important for the race. But the most important thing is that the bike is competitive. All the Yamaha riders have a good pace, so we need to make a good start, do everything right from the beginning, and then we‘ll see. I am competitive and strong. I can be fast for all the race. But MotoGP is always difficult, and things can change fast from one day to the other. To beat the others you have to arrive at the chequered flag earlier than them – that‘s the target."

Maverick Viñales

"The start is always crucial and fifth position is difficult, but it‘s not a really bad result considering we struggled a lot with the tyres this afternoon. Tomorrow we‘ll try to make another step forward. I think maybe we can find something really good for tomorrow. On rhythm we are good, we are very consistent and that is the most important. Tomorrow I‘ll go crazy on the first lap to move up to second or third, and then we‘ll see. What we understand is that we have a good pace in the last ten or twelve laps, which is important because this track is very demanding on the rear tyre. We will see tomorrow, but we are confident for the race."

Massimo Meregalli

Team Director

"It was another very positive qualifying day for Yamaha, securing its second lock-out of the season. We are very pleased for Valentino to see him back on the front row, which is well deserved. Both he and the team have been working really hard, and third place on the grid is a nice achievement on such an important day for Vale. It‘s a shame that Maverick wasn‘t able to produce the lap times he had in mind, especially after the really good pace he showed in FP4. His goal was to be on the first row, but we know he has the rhythm to join the fight at the front. Before tomorrow's Warm Up, the team will try to further improve the area of the bike that didn't give him the right confidence. We will put in 100% effort to make sure we are ready for the fight, especially as this is a Monster Energy sponsored event. We want to see our riders celebrate on the podium at the end of it."