An incident-packed last Q2 session of the season, held at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit this afternoon, saw Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi secure seventh place on the grid for the Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana. His teammate Maverick Viñales took part in Q1 and only just missed out on a place in the top-2, to promote to Q2. He will start tomorrow’s race from 13th position.
Rossi was impatient to get things going in today’s Q2 session. As soon as the pit lane lights went green he dashed out on track aboard his YZR-M1, but he had to hold back due to traffic on his first lap. Once the nine-time World Champion found himself some clear track space, he settled into tenth position. He went on to improve his time on his third try, but didn’t better his position and held tenth place as he returned to the pits.
The Doctor was back out on track again with five minutes of the shoot-out remaining. Having dropped to 11th place, he put his head down and climbed up to eighth. He gained another position on his fifth attempt. The Italian had one lap remaining after the flag had come out, but he didn’t improve on his 1’30.848s and remained in seventh place, 0.951s from pole. He will start the final showdown from the third row of the grid.
Viñales was not among the first riders to get out at the start of the Q1 session. He lingered in the pit box for a while at the start of the 15-minute session, to be ensured of free space so he could focus on dropping a hot time. His first lap, on a medium rear tyre, put him in third place. As the other riders started to speed up, the local hero was setting personal best sectors on his second flying lap, to move up from 12th to 6th. He was keen on continuing the momentum, but ran wide in the first corner and aborted the lap to return to the box for a soft rear tyre.
He was back on his bike with six minutes left on the clock, determined to further improve on his best time. He moved up from seventh to second, posting a 1’31.030s on his fifth full lap, but was pushed back to third as the times dropped in the final minutes. He had one more try left, but was unable to better his lap time and ended the session in third place, 0.137s from first place in Q1. He will start tomorrow’s race from 13th place on the grid.
Position: 7th – Time: 1’30.848 – Laps: 9
“I’m quite happy, because I was able to arrive directly in the Q2 with a tenth place, and after I improved a little bit in the afternoon. In qualifying I was improving my position. It was a good lap and I could have stayed on the second row, but unfortunately I made a mistake in the last corner, I arrived too fast, so I lost time. Anyway, the seventh place is not so bad, considering this weekend and our speed. I think we will do a very hard race tomorrow, because our pace isn’t fantastic, but it’s just the Saturday, so we need to try to do something for tomorrow and we’ll see.”
Position: 13th – Time: 1’31.030 – Laps: 8
“Normally it’s difficult to really improve the bike throughout the weekend, so this is not a special scenario. However, this weekend seems to be even more difficult, but that doesn’t mean we’ll be settling. Anyway, I would like to remain optimistic, that we can find new options that we can test in tomorrow’s warm up. In any case, I will do my best as always.”
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – Team Director
“The Valencia Grand Prix is proving to be a challenge for us this year. On a positive note, Valentino seemed to have found something in the free practice sessions that improved his feeling. He was gaining momentum throughout most of the Q2 session. It was a pity that a mistake in the final corner lost him time, but he still secured seventh place on the grid. Maverick wasn’t feeling as confident, though he tried many things in the practice sessions. He started the Q1 on the medium rear tyre, hoping that he would have the pace to position himself inside the top-2 without using one of the softer rear tyres, but this turned out to be impossible today. He set a good time on his second run with the softer tyre, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough in the end to promote to Q2 and he took 13th position. We know that tomorrow is going to be a tough race for us. After challenging sessions, it’s difficult to be confident for the race, but we still believe that we can prepare something for tomorrow.”