This press release just in:
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi will start tomorrow’s Gran Premio de España from the second and third row of the grid after taking fourth and seventh place respectively in today‘s qualifying session.
Viñales was the last rider out this afternoon to clock a time in Q2 and immediately moved up to provisional fourth place, before the pace picked up. He put his head down and improved his time to a 1‘38.677s to promote to third on the provisional front row and returned to the box. On a one-stop strategy, he entered pit lane with seven minutes of the session remaining and went back out on track one and a half minute later.
He had just enough time for two more tries and didn’t hesitate to put the hammer down to drop a 1’38s lap, but he was unable to improve on his earlier achievement. His second hot lap of the session was fast enough to hold fourth place, 0.428s from pole, on the second row of the grid.
Teammate Rossi took a little while to get underway at the start of the 15-minute qualifying heat, allowing most of the traffic to leave before him. He entered a relatively empty track, but was struggling to breach into the top of the timesheets. His best lap on his first run, a 1’39.305s, kept him in tenth place as he entered the pits with less than seven minutes on the clock.
A little more than two minutes later, he was back out again and clearly on a mission. Having dropped to 11th place in the meantime, he was determined to better his position and had two more chances to strive for a top result, which he took with both hands to drop under the 1‘39-mark on his first try. His best lap, a 1’38.908s, 0.659s from the front, earned him seventh on the grid for tomorrow’s race.
After two challenging practice sessions yesterday in wet and drying conditions, today was our first chance to work on the dry set-up, but we hadn‘t anticipated facing this lack of grip. Anyway, we have been able to make some progress during today‘s sessions. We have improved the feeling on the bike for both riders throughout the day. We still have to work to create some more grip in time for tomorrow‘s warm-up, which is going to be a fundamental last practice opportunity to fine-tune the setting for the race. Tomorrow is predicted to be the hottest day of the weekend and this might affect our tyre choice. Maverick and Vale will be starting from second and third row and we expect that we will fight at the front of the field. We will give our all, as always, to make sure we‘re ready for the battle.
I think today was good. We worked quite hard and tried to find a good set-up. Honestly, the right side of the tyre is really good, but when I go onto the left side I suddenly have a lot of wheelspin. We have to check it out this night and work really hard for tomorrow‘s warm-up. We still have to decide on the tyre options. We did many laps on the medium tyre and the lap times weren‘t so bad, so we have to continue like that. Like we did today, we have to work a little bit more than we usually do during the warm-up, so I think tomorrow it‘s important to find a good set-up, especially for the left side.
I think today wasn‘t so bad, because we worked a lot and improved the feeling with the bike. My pace is not bad. We still have to work, especially on the corner entry. I‘m not fully happy about the results in the qualifying. I will start from the third row, which is always difficult and I think we could have done better, but we‘re still working on it. We‘re not at 100% yet, we need to improve.