Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales wrote qualifying history today at the Circuito de la Comunitat Valenciana – Ricardo Tormo, becoming only the second rider ever to secure pole position after first taking part in the Q1 session.
In Q1 Viñales had a strong first hot lap that saw him put his YZR-M1 in second place, but he was pushed back to third when the pace picked up. The Spaniard wasn‘t shy to respond with a 1‘32.418s lap, putting him at the top of the provisional rankings and giving him a 0.593s advantage to his closest rival at the time.
He re-entered the track after a pit stop of just over a minute. When three and a half minutes remained, the fight for a place in the top-2 heated up, but the Yamaha rider was ready to push. He was one of the first riders to drop under the 1‘32s mark today and secured second place with a 1‘31.858s lap.
The local hero exited pit lane late at the start of the Q2 session, as he needed a bit of time to make some changes to the bike after the previous session had come to a close only ten minutes earlier. His first lap briefly put him in fourth place, but he soon found himself in tenth. Viñales improved his best lap of Q1 thus far, but still entered pit lane holding eighth position. However, he was just getting warmed up.
After a quick look at the provisional times, he entered the track meaning business. He clocked a provisional pole and, to keep the first place in his grasp, posted a 1‘31.312s immediately after. As the chequered flag went out, nobody was able to challenge him. He ended the session with a 0.068s lead, thus securing his first pole position since the 2017 Grand Prix of Aragón.
“Great to be back on pole and to be on the front row. The target for today was to be on the first or second row, and in the end we got pole, so that’s something amazing and unbelievable. I’m so happy, to finish the season in that form, feeling really strong. Honestly, I can’t say anything more than that, I’m just happy. However, I will take it session by session. We did good in the qualifying and I’m excited about tomorrow, but tomorrow is another day. It could rain, or maybe not, we don’t know – we have to be ready for all conditions. I think the bike, in the rain, still needs to be improved. The bike we have right now is in the top-10, but let’s see. I’m curious what will happen. It’s very important to start from pole, because if you’re at the front in the first laps it’s better. I’ll do my best, but there’s no pressure. It’s the last race of the season. I will give everything, but I don’t pay too close attention to the championship standings right now, I’m just going to enjoy the time on the bike and let’s see if we can be at the top.”
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