Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi gave their utmost in this afternoon‘s qualifying sessions at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve. Viñales had promoted straight into Q2 and secured an 8th-place starting position for tomorrow‘s Grande Prémio de Portugal. Rossi had to take part in Q1 and ended that session in seventh, putting him in 17th place on the grid.
Viñales showed a strong hand in his opening bid for pole in Q2. He put his Yamaha in the number-one spot after the first lap, but the fight was only just starting. One lap later, he set a provisional best lap of 1'39.517s for fourth place before he returned to the box for a fresh set of tyres.
The Spaniard headed back out on track with slightly less than six minutes on the clock and the entire rider field out on flying laps. He defended his fourth position, posting a 1‘39.260s on the sixth lap with a 0.056s gap to a front-row start, and he had two more laps to further improve. However, he wasn‘t able to do so and ended the session in eighth place, 0.368s from the top.
Rossi‘s first try in Q1 put him in sixth place and he defended it on his next hot lap, holding fifth position as he came into the pits. Checking the times, he knew he had to find about 0.3s to be in contention for the two top spots.
With six minutes remaining, The Doctor was back on his way. The times were tumbling, so he had to dig deep to get as high up the starting grid as possible. His next try, a 1‘40.058s, moved the Italian back up to sixth, but he was soon pushed back to seventh. He had two more chances left but wasn‘t able to better his time. He finished in seventh place, 0.808s from first.