A solid run in this morning‘s FP3 saw both Viñales and Rossi secure a place in Q2, allowing them to fight for a spot on the front row.
Viñales copied his successful qualifying strategy from Qatar, starting the Q2 session well after the rest of the field had left pit lane. He took eighth place initially, but he was only getting warmed up. His next lap put him in fifth position, right behind his team-mate.
With about seven minutes left on the clock, the Spaniard arrived back at the box to put fresh tyres on his Yamaha for his final push. Viñales delivered when it really counted. His next flying lap, a strong 1‘38.458s, briefly put him in first position. However, as other riders completed their bids for pole he found himself in second place, 0.154s from the top. He had one final go but didn‘t improve. He will start tomorrow‘s race from the middle of the front row.Rossi quickly headed out of pit lane, eager to get his hot laps in. His first attempt put him in tenth place, but he started his second with a red sector and slotted into fourth in the provisional rankings before heading back to the garage.
There were more than four and a half minutes remaining when the Doctor rejoined the qualifying action, and he was on a mission. He secured a provisional place on the front row with his next effort but was pushed down a position in the final stages of the session. The Italian wasn‘t able to further improve his best time on his last lap, leaving him in fourth, on the second row, 0.241s from first.