Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi will start the last act of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship, the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana, from 4th and 12th position on the grid respectively.
Viñales had already flexed his muscles in FP4, taking first place, and was eager to do it again in Q2. He showed great promise on his first run, setting his YZR-M1 in P1 after his opening lap. Unable to improve on his next try, he was pushed down to second and made his way back to the box.
With less than eight minutes on the clock, the Spaniard arrived at the team’s garage for a tyre swap and a dash of fuel. He was keen on putting in a challenge for pole in front of his home fans, but to do so he had to find at least 0.130s to beat the provisional pole. He achieved the objective, dropping a 1’30.178s on his 6/8 lap. However, with three other rivals also bettering their time, the Yamaha rider will have to start from fourth place, on the second row, having finished Q2 0.200s from first.
After a challenging first day, Rossi had made a stellar comeback in FP3 to secure fourth position and a place in Q2. He was quick to leave pit lane at the start of the 15-minute shoot-out and settled into provisional sixth place after all riders had completed their first flying lap. His next try was cancelled for exceeding track limits, and he hurried back to the pit box.
About three and a half minutes later, the Doctor was back on his way. He found himself in seventh place as he put in another hot lap, but the Italian's strategy didn't deliver the results he had hoped for due to traffic at the twisty Ricardo Tormo Circuit on his second run. His best lap, a 1’30.954s set on the first run, was 0.976 off today’s pole and will see him start from 12th on the grid.
“Qualifying today didn't go to plan. Obviously, we wanted to be further up the order, but the results were quite tight in today’s qualifying session. Maverick took fourth and is 0.2s off pole. Anyway, the most important thing is that he seems comfortable on his bike and his pace on the longer runs has been pretty competitive, even though we still have to understand if we can further improve in certain areas. The day started positive for Valentino, especially considering yesterday's two crashes. He had a clear goal in mind for the FP3 session and found something that helped him secure a solid spot in Q2. It was a pity that his strategy for qualifying during his second time attack didn't work out due to traffic. To start from the fourth row is always difficult, there will be a long road ahead of him, and his start will be crucial for how his race will turn out.”
MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP RIDER
“I'm actually happy, because this morning I didn't feel really good, but then in the afternoon we made some changes on the bike and we improved a lot, and that is the most important. I feel that I have a very strong rhythm, especially with the hard tyre. But then in qualifying, already straight away, I felt a drop in the second front tyre and then we didn't have any more new front tyres. So, I did the best I could do, but for sure we could have done better. I don't know if I can go for the win, it all depends on the start, but I think it will be possible to be on the podium.”
MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP RIDER
“Mixed feelings today, because this morning's FP3 was very good, I was able to go directly into Q2 with a good lap time. But in the afternoon, in qualifying, we didn't work well and made some mistakes. I was stuck in traffic with the second tyre and wasn't able to make a good lap. Anyway, it's not fantastic to be far from the front row, now we have to start from P12. It's difficult, because my pace is not so bad but nothing fantastic, and on this track it's hard to overtake. But we have to try the maximum to recover some positions.”