Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales put in a strong bid for today’s pole position in qualifying at the Circuito de Jerez-Ángel Nieto (Spain). He looked to have it in the bag, but ultimately he had to settle for 2nd place. Valentino Rossi improved his feeling in the sweltering Andalusian heat today, but during the Q2 session he was unable to put in the hot lap he had in mind. He will start the Gran Premio de España from 11th position on the grid.
Viñales waited for the majority of the riders to make their way out on track before he stepped aboard his YZR-M1. But when he did, he went straight down to business, setting a provisional second fastest time. Riding with the soft-soft option, tyre degradation prevented him from bettering this lap on his next try, and he headed straight back to the pits.
With four and a half minutes on the clock, Top Gun was back on his way. He was currently ranking fourth, just off the front row, which fueled the local hero’s determination even more. Thanks to his strong desire to make his fans watching from their homes proud, he set two red sectors and a personal best in the tricky third sector. The Spaniard had to push 100% and clocked a strong 1’36.844s for provisional pole, by 0.018s. It looked like it was all done and dusted, but after the chequered flag had already come out, the Factory Yamaha rider was pushed back to second. He missed out on pole by 0.139s.
Rossi was one of the first riders to storm out of the pit lane exit, ready for action on the baking hot Jerez track. His first attempt put him temporarily in sixth place. Unable to improve on his next try, he headed back to the box with more than seven minutes remaining.
One and a half minutes later the Doctor started his second run. He was holding tenth place but felt there was more in it for him today after the improvements he had made in this morning’s FP3. He then clocked a 1’37.741s for eighth place, but with the majority of the riders putting in their final hot laps, the Italian began to drop back down the order again. He kept pushing until the very end but wasn’t able to make strides. He ended the session in eleventh place, 1.036s from pole.