Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi showed 100% commitment during today’s FP3, FP4 and the qualifying sessions at the Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto, but their efforts were not met by the desired results. They secured 10th and 11th place respectively on the grid for tomorrow’s Gran Premio de España.
Rossi took a little time to get underway at the start of the Q2 heat, but had trouble finding some clear space out on the track, which kept him from pushing to the maximum. By the time he was no longer followed, his tyre had dropped, so he headed back to pit lane after two hot laps for a tyre swap.
With a little less than six minutes left on the clock, he joined the track activities again. He found himself in 12th position, which spurred the Italian on to post some strong laps. His third try resulted in a 1’38.267s, which moved him up to provisional eighth place. He continued to look competitive on his next attempt, as he bettered his personal best time in the first two sectors, but in the end he came just short of making any progress up the rider order. He ended the session in 10th place, 0.614s from first.
Viñales finished the morning session outside the top-10 and had to take part in Q1. After two laps he put his head down and moved up to provisional third place, just outside the top-2, as he had towed a rival over the line with him. Aware that he was not riding alone, the Yamaha rider decided to go back to the pits. Upon his return, he was flashing red and orange sectors, posting a 1’38.349s to promote to second place, which he held on to until the end of the session.
The Spaniard then only had a few minutes to get himself ready for Q2. As nearly all his soft tyres had been used in Q1, he started Q2 on a medium front and rear tyre. This tyre combination improved lap by lap, moving him up to seventh place by his third lap.
With seven minutes remaining the young fighter came back to the box to put in his final soft rear tyre. Heading out a short while later, there was just enough time for him to complete three more flying laps, and he didn’t hesitate to fully open the throttle. As the pace quickened, he clocked a 1’38.281s, improving his time, but not his position. He was unable to move up the rankings in his next two attempts and qualified in 11th place, 0.628s from pole.
Position: 9th – Time: 1’38.267 – Laps: 8
“The feeling was very similar to yesterday. I wasn’t so bad in the morning with the cooler temperatures, but in the afternoon it became hotter and I suffered a lot with the tyres and it was difficult. It’s a shame because we tried to modify the setting of the bike a lot, but we were not able to improve. So I have to start from P10, which isn’t easy, and also my pace is not fantastic. We have to fix all the small details and we’ll see what happens.”
Position: 11th – Time: 1’38.281
“It was very difficult, the bike was sliding on the rear. We’re going to try everything and tomorrow we’re going to take the maximum amount of points. We have to stay focused and keep working. For sure I expect to improve tomorrow, compared to today. I will try to make a good start and be there from the beginning and we’ll see if it works. It will be difficult, but we’re going to try.”
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – Team Director
“After the four challenging practice sessions yesterday and today, we knew the qualifying sessions would be tough. The performance level was really high today and in the end our riders are 0.3s from the front row. We will give all we have to bridge this margin for tomorrow. The warm up will be fundamental, because it’s our last opportunity to fine-tune the bike, but we have to be careful as the temperatures – and therefore the track conditions – will be totally different during the race. For this reason, we won’t take any big risks preparing elaborate changes, but we will be amending the settings according to today’s data, especially focusing on improving acceleration. Vale and Maverick will be starting from the fourth row and we expect that it will be a hard fight for them.”
Zarco Grabs Fabulous Front Row in Jerez – Syahrin Shows huge Determination
Monster Yamaha Tech3 star Johann Zarco delivered a stunning Qualifying performance today at the Jerez Circuit and was able to place the only Yamaha inside the top 3 for the Spanish Grand Prix. As the fast Frenchman secured the third spot with a superb lap towards the end of the short session, he’ll launch forward from the front row for the fourth time in as many races.
On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 garage, Hafizh Syahrin still struggled with the bruises he sustained in a bicycle crash on Monday, but gave his all to do the fastest lap during Q1 on his 24th birthday. The MotoGP rookie was riding through the pain barrier and will start the Spanish GP tomorrow at 14.00 local time from the eighth row of the ultra-competitive grid.
Position: 3rd – Time: 1’37.956 – Laps: 8
“I always ride at the maximum and I trust the bike, although FP4 was quite difficult today with used tyres, but the good thing is, if we struggle during the Free Practice we can prepare the race in a better way. Now in the heat I could not find the speed from yesterday, also this morning I was feeling good, but the temperatures make a huge difference. I have a decent feeling on the right side, so I tried to push hard. I’m really happy, it’s just coming and enjoy to be in the first row. I want to take this opportunity again to fight for the victory tomorrow.”
Position: 22nd – Time: 1’39.135 – Laps: 8
“During the Qualifying, I tried my best with my pain and it was quite difficult to improve my lap time, but finally I put in all I have and in the end, we managed to get closer to the front. My position is pretty far, but we will see what happens tomorrow. I hope that I can keep up the pace for all 25 laps. You never know what can happen during the race. I will try my best and want to thank my team, because they always try something and find a great direction for me, which is positive. I’m also sorry a bit for them, because my body doesn’t feel so good, but I try to recover as fast as possible in order to be ready for the race.”