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.