Viñales to start Czech GP from 5th, Rossi from 10th
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi put up a fight at the Automotodrom Brno this afternoon in the Q2 session but didn‘t obtain the results they had in mind. The team-mates will line up in fifth and tenth position on the grid tomorrow.
Viñales was the first rider out. With clear track in front of him, he was ready to clear off into the distance, posting a 1‘56.633s benchmark lap for provisional fourth place. He immediately returned to the pit box with about nine minutes left on the clock.
Within a minute the Spaniard was back on his way. His next flyer, a 1‘56.131s put him in third, but there was still 0.141s to breach. Coming into pit lane with two minutes remaining, the number-12 rider hoped to have another go, but he was unable to cross the start-finish line before the chequered flag came out. He ended the session in fifth place, 0.444s from the top.
Rossi didn‘t waste a second of his Q2 track time and headed out of the pit box as soon as the light turned green. He dropped a 1‘56.696s on his initial attempt that put him behind his team-mate in fifth place when all riders had completed their first hot lap. Unable to improve on his second try, The Doctor headed back into the pits for a change of tyre with six and half minutes remaining.
Soon the Italian resumed his challenge. He had time for three more attempts and dug deep as the pace heated up in the final stages of Q2, but his fading front tyre compromised his chance of a top result. His penultimate lap, a 1‘56.515s, earned him tenth place, 0.828s from first.
I think we saved the day on qualifying, because we weren’t very fast, especially in FP4 with the hotter temperatures. But in qualifying I immediately felt really good and on the pace. The strategy was to do two exits, but when I came back from the second run, I felt fantastic. We improved the lap time quite a bit, so I decided to run that bike again, but too late. It was my mistake, the team did a good job, because they provided the bike and put everything together. Anyway, I think tomorrow we have a good opportunity to improve and understand many things on the bike, so I’m quite curious to see what we can do, and I have a positive mindset. The race will be very long, and it will be demanding for the tyres. We’re going to try to be at the front as early on in the race as we can. A positive point is that the first corner is quite far, so I think we can make up a few places at the start.
Today was a day of mixed feelings for me. In the morning I was very fast, and I felt good with the bike and the tyres. FP3 was a very good practice session, but unfortunately the temperature rose a lot in the afternoon and the asphalt was also 10 degrees hotter than yesterday, and we suffered because of this. We wanted to continue with the medium front tyre, but it was too hot in the end and I also struggled in the qualifying. Unfortunately, I will have to start from P10. This is bad news for tomorrow’s race, because everybody is strong and starting from further down the grid will be very hard. But my pace is good, so I will have to start well and try to ride a good race and recover some positions.