Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales saved his best effort for last in today’s 15-minute Q2 shoot-out to secure third place on the starting grid for tomorrow’s Gran Premio Octo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini. Teammate Valentino Rossi was looking competitive in the early stages of Q2, holding on to a second-row start, but ended the session in seventh place.
Viñales showed he’s feeling competitive in the dry during FP4, which he ended in first place. Following this ego-boost, he was eager in Q2 to get a hot lap in but soon realised the first tyre wasn’t working for him. He placed fourth on his opening lap but dropped to eighth place as other riders completed their initial flying laps.
After two tries the Spaniard hurried back to the box for a fresh tyre and with a little more than five minutes left on the clock headed out again, determined to show his speed. On his next attempt he moved up to fifth place, but as the pace quickened towards the end of the session he fell back to seventh. However, the youngster had one more trick up his sleeve and produced a 1’31.950s lap by riding three personal best sectors on S2, S3 and S4. This put him in third place, on the front row of the grid, 0.321s from first.
Rossi’s first run also didn’t go entirely to plan. He left the box looking for some clear space on track to put on a show for his fans, but they had to be patient as his first hot lap got cancelled. He appeared in fifth place on the timing screens after his second flying lap and he went straight back to the box.
The Italian returned to the fray with more than six minutes left, entering a half empty track as at that point many other riders were swapping tyres. He put his head down and climbed up to fourth on his next try, but soon was back in sixth. He kept pushing but was unable to improve on his 1’32.028s lap, 0.399s from pole, and finished in seventh place as his teammate made a late charge. The local hero will start tomorrow’s race from the third row of the grid, missing out on the second row by just 0.003s.
Position: 3rd – Time: 1’31.950 – Laps: 8
“It’s nice to be back and have the chance to start the race from the front row. I think we began the weekend really well, so we have a good rhythm for tomorrow and the bike is working well. We need to make some adjustments in a few areas, but I’m really happy, honestly. The work we’ve done since the Misano test is helping, I feel better with the bike. I think my lap time today could have been a little bit faster, because on the first tyre I didn’t feel so great, it was very slippery. This gave me less confidence for the second tyre, but I’m actually pleased. I did my best lap on the third try and we still have some room for improvement for tomorrow. I haven’t decided on a race tyre yet, let’s see tomorrow. The soft or the medium, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m fast on both, so that’s something pretty important. Another thing is that the team is working good and I actually feel really grateful because we got the feeling back again. I can push on the bike and they are understanding my feelings, and that’s great.”
Position: 7th – Time: 1’32.028 – Laps: 8
“It’s a great shame, because even second place is less than one tenth of a second away. It’s unbelievable, we’re very, very close. I did a good lap, but not a perfect one, unfortunately. I made a mistake and it cost me the first and second row. Starting from the third row is more difficult, for sure, but on the other hand, this afternoon in FP4 we improved the balance of the bike and I feel better. I’m not so bad, I have a good pace, also on a used tyre it’s quite good. It looks like I need two tenths more if I want to try to go for the podium, because we have a minimum of five other riders with the same pace. We have to work this night to try to understand how we can make another little step.”
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – Team Director
“We made good progress in the dry today, also due to the track conditions that have been improving session by session. Maverick secured first place in the FP4 session, so he entered Q2 with confidence and secured the first row. It’s a pity that Valentino will be starting from seventh place, especially considering that the margins in today’s Q2 session were very small, with 0.078s making the difference between starting from the first or from the third row. The most important thing we take away from today is that the riders are feeling confident for tomorrow. With both riders we still have to decide on the tyre choice for the race. Unfortunately, the tyre data we gained during the Misano test doesn’t apply to the current conditions. As usual, it will be important to use the last 20 minutes of practice in tomorrow’s Warm Up to the fullest to finalise our package before the race. We expect it to be a very entertaining show.”
Zarco to Launch Misano GP from Third Row – Syahrin Primed for Catch Up
In challenging conditions Monster YamahaTech3’s Johann Zarco showed his incredible talent at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli this morning by taking over the top with his last flying lap and lowering his best lap from Friday to make it directly to Q2. He concluded the all-important Qualifying just 0.621 seconds behind the new pole position record.
In the meantime, Hafizh Syahrin did some great steps in today’s FP3, imroving on his FP1 time by incredible 1.786 seconds, but struggled to find his strong feeling again during the short Q1 session in the afternoon and has to tackle his 12thever MotoGP race at 14.00 local time on Sunday from the ninth row of the grid.
Position: 9th – Time: 1’32.250 – Laps: 8
“Overall, it has been a good Saturday. I’m especially happy about this morning when I was able to make it directly into Q2 and I saw again how important it is to keep your energy in order to have the best possible Qualifying. My lap time has been incredible today, I also improved my personal one. In the end I start in ninth position and it is really difficult to do better. We are not so far and I think that the work, we are doing is positive, so I keep that in mind and stay strong for Sunday.”
Position: 25th – Time: 1’34.080 – Laps: 8
“The Qualifying was very difficult for me after we had a great third and fourth Free Practice today. I wanted to do a race simulation in FP4, but I had a small crash in turn six with the bike I had the best feeling with. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to use my favorite machine in Q1, although we tried to use the same setting, but it didn’t work as we wanted. It’s a pity as I really wanted to improve my position. Now I need to start quite far back, so I know that I need to make a good start, try to deliver a decent race performance and work on this in the Warm Up tomorrow morning.”
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