Movistar Yamaha Bank First and Third Row in Brno
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi scored a front row position today in a hot qualifying session, ahead of tomorrow’s Monster Energy Grand Prix Ceské republiky, securing second place. Maverick Viñales was on the pace, but struggled to find those all-important tenths in the second sector, ending the session in seventh position.
Rossi had already shown he was comfortable on his Yamaha YZR-M1 in the morning practice session and felt he was up to the task to challenge his rivals for a position on the front row. The Doctor left pit lane mid-field and quickly found a good place on track to start his first flying lap, claiming fourth on his first attempt. Unable to improve on his second try, he returned to the box with six and a half minutes remaining.
He was pushed down to fifth place, but this was short-lived, as Jorge Lorenzo’s time was cancelled due to exceeding track limits. One and a half minutes later, Rossi was back out for his second run and, as many riders flashed red sectors, the nine-time World Champion responded brilliantly. He set a 1’55.073s, 0.092s from pole, on his third time attack, and will start tomorrow’s race from second place on the front row.
Viñales was keen to earn a strong starting position during the 15-minute qualifying heat. He ensured he was one of the last men heading out of pit lane as the session began, to get enough clear space on track to really put the hammer down. His first flying lap had him shoot up directly to sixth place. Though he improved his time on his second hot lap, he dropped to seventh before quickly returning to the box with six minutes on the clock.
The young gun found himself back in sixth place one minute later as he rejoined the track. As many riders put in a fast time, he held ninth place when he put in another solid effort. He bettered his time to 1’55.911s to secure seventh place on the grid for the race, but again wasn’t able to hold the spot and slipped back to eighth. The Spaniard made his final try count as the flag came out. His time dropped to a 1’55.663s with his final push, 0.682s from first, enough to secure seventh position on tomorrow’s grid.
Position: 2nd – Time: 1’55.073 – Laps 7
“Today I tried to brake later and open the throttle early. I already felt good on the first run, but the first lap is always a bit difficult. I knew I had a good potential and on the second run I was in the right position, with clear track in front, and I rode well. I was able to push without making any mistakes. It’s a shame for the pole, because we were close, but the second place is a very good result and front row is a good place to start the race from tomorrow.”
Position: 7th – Time: 1’55.663 – Laps: 7
“It was very difficult in qualifying, because we didn’t find a good set-up and I couldn’t make the bike turn the way I wanted it to. We still have time to deeply check the information we collected today and try to prepare a different set-up for tomorrow’s warm up. I think I can make some steps forward in the race. My race pace is not so bad, but anyway we have to improve.”
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – Team Director
“Starting from first row is always a vital component to having a good race weekend. Valentino was feeling very comfortable on his bike in FP3 and FP4 and he again showed his pace in Q2. His first run was already competitive but, with clear track ahead of him, he really got up to speed on the second outing and came very close to the pole with a 1’55.073s lap. Maverick made some big changes to his bike, but there’s still some fine-tuning to be done. He had a strong race pace this morning, but there’s room for improvement in the second sector, as seen in this afternoon’s qualifying session. Though the weather conditions for the race remain a question mark, we will prepare something for tomorrow’s warm up to see if we can gain a few more tenths before we get into the race-mood.”
Determined Zarco to Launch from Fourth Row Folger Ready for the Fight
Johann Zarco will leap forward from 10th on the grid after producing a tireless effort in the blazing heat today in the Czech Republic. The rapid French rider completed FP3 in 8th, which secured his participation in QP2 and here, he pushed non-stop before qualifying on the fourth row for tomorrow’s sprint. With his eyes still firmly set on challenging for a top tier finish, he aims to undertake a typically strong start and then join the battle in the leading group.
Meanwhile, Jonas Folger will commence the race from 14th. The German star prepared for the qualifying shootout by notably finishing FP4 in 2nd. However, in Q1, he unfortunately did not see the chequered flag and began his fastest lap, which would have allowed him to progress through to Q2, after the session had ended. Nevertheless, he will begin from the fifth row and aims to undertake a rocket start and then dice for the leading satellite honours.
Position: 10th – Time: 1’56.075 – Laps: 7
“Overall the qualifying was a bit tricky but I am ready for anything tomorrow. I was pleased with my lap time in FP3 and happy to be in the top ten which put me through to Q2. Then this afternoon, I felt positive on the bike, and the control was good, but I was missing some drive on the exit of the corner. I was able to follow some riders and the corner entry and speed was positive, yet, there was a bit too much spinning at the exit. Maybe it was too hot, but I wanted to be on the first two rows. However, 10th is not a disaster because the work that we did in FP4 was solid. Here, I was the only rider who stayed on the used tyres, and I could understand a lot of things and create a good feeling in case of a dry race tomorrow. It doesn’t matter what happens with the weather as I will be ready if it rains, because we had a test in the wet on Friday morning. If it is damp, then I know that I will have to get on the pace quickly to be fast in the race. Yet, if it’s dry, I think that, when compared to the guys in front, I can be more consistent after ten laps, even though I was not able to be really fast on a single lap this afternoon. We will have to fight anyway, but I am confident.”
Position: 14th – Time: 1’56.540 – Laps: 6
“I am disappointed with today’s result because I was very close to getting into Qualifying 2. At the end of Q1, the last lap that I set was my fastest, but time ran out two seconds before I completed it and I thought I had another lap available because I didn’t see the chequered flag. I went even quicker, yet unfortunately, the session had already finished. This is a shame because our target was to have a strong qualifying today and we couldn’t achieve this, plus we can do much better. Now we have to wait until tomorrow, but we understand that we are quite strong, yet, I don’t feel completely comfortable on the bike, so we need to do a bit of work to find some solutions for the setting. I hope we can make a step, and I will give it everything that I have got.”