A red hot qualifying session at the Le Mans – Bugatti Circuit track resulted in both Movistar Yamaha MotoGP teammates securing places on the third row of the grid for the Grand Prix de France. Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi showed competitive speed in Q2, flashing various red sectors, but were unable to ride the perfect lap they had in mind. They secured eighth and ninth place respectively.
Viñales was the second to last rider to leave pit lane at the start of the 15-minute shoot-out. His first flying lap temporarily put him in third place, behind Johann Zarco and Rossi for a provisional Yamaha 1-2-3, until a late starting rider pushed him down one place. The Spaniard went on to improve his time on the next two laps, but still found himself in ninth place as he headed into the pits with more than six minutes remaining.
The young Yamaha-rider soon commenced his second time-attack. He meant business, setting a fastest time in S1 and moved up to seventh place. He again picked up the pace on his next attempt, clocking a 1’31.784s lap, but he didn‘t improve his position in the rankings. He finished Q2 in eighth place, 0.599s from the front.
“My race pace is good when it‘s cold, but when it‘s hot it‘s more difficult to keep up that rhythm. I‘m not exactly sure what my best potential is for tomorrow. It will be hard to repeat our performance from last year, but I will do my best. This morning was really good, I enjoyed the bike and was pushing on every lap, but this afternoon the track conditions were different, it was impossible to do the same lap times. I expected 1‘31-low laps, because in the morning I did 1‘31‘s easily. It‘s going to be a difficult race, but we‘re going to try to score the maximum amount of points. There’s still the warm up left to improve for the race. I don‘t know which tyre I‘m going to use yet, but I have a good rhythm with both.”
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