Viñales scores third consecutive pole in Misano, Rossi to line up in 7th
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi had to push hard at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli this afternoon as they took on the considerable competition in the Q2 session. Viñales‘ two-stop strategy again proved to be successful, earning him his 13th pole with Yamaha. Rossi was on route for a second-row start but got pushed to P7 after the chequered flag had come out.
Viñales was the first rider to dash out of pit lane in the hunt for his third-consecutive pole position. His 1‘31.647s benchmark lap put him on provisional pole and he headed straight back to the box, repeating the two-stop strategy he used for the San Marino GP qualifying that had earned him P1.
Just like last time, it allowed the Spaniard to make the most of the clear track, whilst all other riders were having their pitstop. The Top Gun had been pushed back to fourth and recovered to second with a 1‘31.386s, but he knew he had more in store. He shaved off a further 0.118s off his time to take over the P1 spot once more.
With three minutes to go, the contest for pole reached new heights, but the number-12 rider was ready for it. He exited the box once more after his second stop to get one final flying lap in. He set a brilliant 1‘31.077s, a new All Time Lap Record, to secure a hard-fought pole with a 0.076s advantage over his closest rival.
Rossi didn‘t waste any time getting into the mix for a top result. His first effort put him in sixth place as all twelve riders put in their first flying lap. He improved on his next attempt, setting a 1‘31.729s, which briefly put him in third position. However, he was pushed back to sixth as he made his way to the box.
After a quick stop, he returned to the track but ended up in a busy part on the circuit. He was pushed down to ninth in the rankings, as red and orange sectors filled the live-timing screens. The local hero responded with a 1‘31.569s, moving him back up to fifth spot, but it wasn‘t enough. He didn‘t produce the final lap that he had in mind, but still set a 1‘31.436s, 0.359s from first, for sixth. He was later pushed back one position due to a late charge by a rival, and so The Doctor will start his 250th Grand Prix with Yamaha from P7, on the third row of the grid.
We worked really hard today and we got the job done. We hope that tomorrow all the hard work will pay off as well. We are going to try the maximum. I’m very happy and comfortable with the bike. I was very relaxed in FP4 in conditions that are similar to tomorrow’s race, so we will see. Today I focused mainly on riding with a full fuel tank and the race set-up. Tomorrow is a new opportunity to improve. If we don’t, we will try again at the next race in Montmeló. We have good potential, and I think we can still do better. We’re going to try to be at the best level.
Today was a good day for me, because during this second weekend in Misano everybody raised their level, but so did we. We were able to improve the setting of the bike and to be stronger. In the afternoon, in FP4, we made some modifications to the bike that give me more grip, so I feel good and I have a good pace. I’m not very happy about my position in the quali. It’s true that I’m only 0.3s off pole, but I had the potential to do better, because my bike was good and worked well. I didn’t ride fantastic on my hot lap, and I can do better. Anyway, I will start from seventh. A lot of riders have good pace, but we are also strong. Starting from the third row is a bit difficult: you have to do everything well from the start. But like I said, I feel stronger than last week, and we improved in some places where I was losing something last week. So, I hope I will be able to fight for the top positions.