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First Place Start for Vinales after Eventful Austin Qualifying

An eventful Q2 session at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) this afternoon saw Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales secure second place on the grid for the Grand Prix of The Americas. However, he is set to gain a starting position for the race tomorrow, as Race Direction has decided to move Marc Marquez back three spots, as a penalty for compromising one of Viñales’ hot laps. Valentino Rossi was also flashing various red sectors and only just missed out on a place on the front row. He will start tomorrow’s race from fifth position.

Viñales gave the majority of the Q2 riders a head start to ensure himself of some clear space on track. His first lap put him in fourth place, but he wasn’t satisfied with his soft rear tyre and headed straight back into the pits with more than seven minutes to go.

He soon went back out, this time on a medium rear tyre. He was in eighth position, but he knew he had the speed to turn things around. He put his head down and was on a potential pole lap until he was held up by Marc Marquez. On his next try he moved up from tenth to second place, with a 2’04.064s. He held on this position after the flag came out and finished 0.406s from first. However, due to Race Direction’s decision after Q2, Viñales will start tomorrow’s race from first position on the grid.

After a strong FP4 session by the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team, Rossi was also in the zone and he kept the momentum going in Q2. His first flying lap saw him shoot to the top of the timesheets. However, he ran wide in turn 1, which meant he wasn’t able to further improve his time on his second try and the Italian headed to the pit box.

With five minutes left, he returned to the track, holding second place. As the times quickened at the end of the session, the Doctor was pushed back to fifth position. He immediately clocking a 2’04.229s, moving him back up to second. Subsequently he flashed a red first sector on his last hot lap, but was unable to hold the advantage until the chequered flag, and he ended the session in fifth place, with a 0.571s margin to first. He will start tomorrow’s race from the middle of the second row of the grid

Maverick Viñales

Position: 2nd – Time: 2’04.064 – Laps – 7

“For sure I’m very satisfied. It’s been a long time since I was on the first row. I think tomorrow we can do a great race. I felt really good with the tyres, especially the rear. I think that tomorrow we still have a little room to improve. Race by race I’m finding my own bike, my own style, and I still have a margin to push more. I’m quite happy and tomorrow we’re going to try to be even faster. I’m very much focused on tomorrow. We had great pace in FP4 and we have to keep pushing. I think fighting for the victory will be difficult, but not impossible. I feel good and I feel good on the bike, so let’s see. I think between today and tomorrow we can make another step.”

Valentino Rossi

Position: 5th – Time: 2’04.229 – Laps: 6

“I’m quite satisfied about these two days, because I was fast all the time and I feel good with the bike. We are working in a good way. I thought I had the potential for a front row start, but I wasn’t fast enough. Anyway, starting from the top-5 is OK for tomorrow’s race. Now we have to fix some small details and we also have to hope that tomorrow we have sunshine and a dry race.”

Massimo Meregalli

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – Team Director

“Though we expected different weather for today we are not complaining, because the dry track time allowed us to make another step. Maverick and Valentino are comfortable on their bikes and we feel optimistic for tomorrow’s race, having secured a first and second row start. It was a pity that Maverick had to abandon one of his hot laps. Marquez was cruising on the race line, blocked Maverick, but our rider showed his professionalism when, on the next lap, he immediately went on from where he left off. Valentino was also in the mix throughout the Q2 session and I’m sure he will also be fighting at the front tomorrow. We are in a good place at the moment, but we want to apply some last setting changes to make the final improvements, which could make all the difference, as we expect it to be a tough but competitive race for us.”

Zarco Strikes Back with Fourth in Americas GP Qualifying – Syahrin to Tackle Texas from Sixth Row

Johann Zarco showed his brilliant talent again on qualifying day at the Circuit of the Americas. The Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider upped his pace in every outing, following some tricky practices on Friday on his way straight to Qualifying two. During the all-important timed session, the French star was nearly three seconds faster than on Friday morning and snatched fourth position in order to head the second row on Sunday.

On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 garage, Hafizh Syahrin improved well over the course of his second day at the ultra-demanding Texan track. The Malaysian MotoGP rookie started Q1 with the fastest lap time and eventually ended up in P6 to bolt forward from the sixth row when the green lights will go out for the third race of the season at 14:00 local time tomorrow.

Johann Zarco

Position: 4th – Time: 2’04.210 – Laps: 7

“I’m really happy, because yesterday has been quite difficult. This morning, I was glad to find dry conditions, so I was able to push a lot in case of rain. Finally, I got a good lap time for the qualifying and now in this session, I used two medium tyres, because we don’t have some extra grip with the soft ones, it’s almost even worse. This disturbed me a bit yesterday and also today, it was quite strange. Anyway, we were able to manage it well and it’s great to be competitive. Fourth position is a good base for the race, so tomorrow I’m going to push for the podium and I really hope I have the pace to do so. I want to rest myself and try to keep the pace until the end of the race.”

Hafizh Syahrin

Position: 16th – Time: 2’05.873 – Laps: 5

“I felt really good in Qualifying one and had a good rhythm, but to be honest, I was quite disappointed in the end, because I did a mistake in my strategy to take reference of the riders in front trying to catch them. In the last lap, I didn’t see the chequered flag, otherwise I think I could have been better. Anyway, it’s ok. I’m really happy with the bike. Now we’re looking forward to tomorrow, we try to have a good setup for the race, because I still lose a bit too much grip with the used tyre and aim to have a good race rhythm, so we’ll see.”

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