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Viñales and Rossi to Start Valencia GP from Second and Sixth Row

Viñales and Rossi to Start Valencia GP from Second and Sixth Row

It‘s was a close fight today at the Ricardo Tormo track in Q2. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales pushed to the limit to take 6th on the grid for the Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana. Valentino Rossi had to take part in Q1. He will start tomorrow‘s race from 16th place.

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales was looking threatening in today‘s highly competitive Q2 at the Ricardo Tormo circuit. He was challenging for pole, but ultimately secured sixth place on the grid for tomorrow‘s Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana. Valentino Rossi took part in the Q1 session but wasn‘t able to set the flying lap he intended. He will start tomorrow‘s race from 16th place.

Viñales was quick to leave the pit box at the start of Q2. His first hot lap briefly put him in the number one spot, but it wasn‘t to last. The 15-minute shoot-out would prove to be a fierce battle. Top Gun showed great form, setting two further fast laps.

The Spaniard was in fifth place when he headed back to the box with about nine minutes remaining. However, with the level of Q2 being so high, he had dropped back to ninth place when he rejoined the action on track. The number-12 rider was on it, though. He set personal bests in sectors 1, 2, and 3, and a fastest time in sector 4, to take back P1. But again he was soon pushed back by other charging riders.

The Yamaha man had time for two more tries but wasn‘t able to make strides. His 1‘30.645s, 0.454s from first, set on lap 6/8, earned him sixth place on the grid for tomorrow‘s race.

Having given the other ten riders in Q1 a head start, Rossi was able to set his own pace, following the caravan of other riders during the qualifying heat. He used the first flying lap to get into the groove to then clock the provisional sixth fastest time on his second attempt. However, it was set under a yellow flag, so he was moved back to last place.

With seven minutes on the clock, the Italian headed into pit lane for a quick stop before heading back out on track. He quickly reclaimed sixth place with a 1‘31.604s and was keen to kick up the pace a notch in the final one-and-a-half minute, but then rain spoiled his plans. With rain flags being waved around the Ricardo Tormo track, the Italian was unable to further improve his time. He ended the session in sixth place, 0.794s from first, and will start tomorrow‘s race from 16th on the grid.

Maverick Viñales

"I'm quite happy about the qualifying. We didn't get an amazing feeling on the softs, but we still got ourselves in sixth position, which is good. I'm more confident about my rhythm. My race rhythm felt strong in FP4. I will try to improve our rear grip a bit more. I want to be fast at the beginning of the race and then see if I can overtake some riders."

Valentino Rossi

"All day we were riding on a track that was somewhere between dry and wet. It wasn't easy. We sincerely did find an improvement in FP4. We modified the setting on the bike, so I feel more comfortable and I have a bit more grip. I improved my pace, so this is important. I expected more from qualifying, because I can make a better lap, but the conditions in Q1 were bad. We hope for a sunny day tomorrow, like the forecast said, and I need to do the best I possibly can in the race and do some laps."

Massimo Meregalli

Team Director

"We've had quite a mixed day. Maverick was feeling good on the bike, especially when working on the race pace. Unfortunately, we have not been able to make the soft tyres work better for him, but anyway the second row is not a bad place to start the race from. Valentino wanted and expected to be higher up the order. He had to go through Q1, but because of the mixed conditions there was not a lot of room for him to get a hot lap in. He will start tomorrow‘s race from the sixth row, which we know is always tricky. But he did find something positive in FP4 to improve his pace, and we are confident that that will benefit him during the race. Warm Up will be important, as always. We are expecting dry-track time tomorrow morning, which we will use to finalise the set-ups of the bikes and to confirm the tyre choice for the race."