Second and Third Row Start for Movistar Yamaha in Spielberg


The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team barrelled their way into the Q2 session in this morning’s FP3 and followed it up with a hard fight in the afternoon for front row at the NeroGiardini Motorrad Grand Prix von Ostrich. Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi were serious contenders for a top-3 finish until the times dropped at the end of the session, and they secured fourth and seventh place respectively.

The afternoon in Austria presented good weather conditions today for a high octane shoot-out at the Red Bull Ring – Spielberg circuit. Viñales was the third to last rider to exit pit lane in a dry qualifying, waiting for the majority of the pack to go out. Despite a small mistake on his first hot lap, he set a 1’25.067s to take second in the provisional standings. With his next attempt he temporarily took over the top spot, but was pushed back to fourth place when the pace quickened. His fourth lap shot him back up to third before he entered the pits with more than six minutes remaining.


The youngster was quickly back on track to have another crack at challenging the competition. Now in fourth place again, he put his head down and jumped to third in the charts, with a 1’23.754s. He was unable to improve on his last lap, but his best time was fast enough to secure fourth place on the grid, on the second row, 0.519s from first.


Rossi took his time to leave the pits for the qualifying session. He got straight down to business, scoring a temporary pole position on his first flying lap with a 1’24.558s, before being pushed back one place. The next minutes saw various riders claim the top spot in the rankings. The Doctor responded by improving his time on his second and third attempt, but was in fourth position when he entered the pits with seven minutes on the clock.


The Italian rushed back out a little more than a minute later, and found himself in seventh place. He broke into the 1’23’s with a 1’23.982s to move up to fifth. There was time for one more attack, but he didn‘t improve on his best lap. He was pushed back by a late charge from a rival after the chequered flag went out, leaving him seventh in the results, 0.747s from the front.

Maverick Viñales

Position: 6th – Time: 1’23.879 – Laps: 8

“I feel OK and positive about today’s result, because I‘ve been struggling in prior qualifying sessions. Tomorrow we have the opportunity to start from the front, on the second row. There’s still a lot of work to do. We need to improve on acceleration in the first and second sector, because that‘s where we lose some time. We’re going to use the new fairing tomorrow in the race, because we think it‘s a little bit better and I look forward to trying something different that the team will prepare for tomorrow‘s warm up.”

Valentino Rossi

Position: 6th – Time: 1’23.879 – Laps: 8

“It was a good Saturday, because we improved the bike a lot and I have a good pace, especially with the race tyres, but also with the soft tyres it was not so bad. I think that my potential was better, that I can try for the front row, or anyway for the top-5, but unfortunately the second tyre was worse. I didn’t have grip, I tried to push a lot, but I had too much spin. Unfortunately, sometimes this happens. I have to start from the third row, which is always difficult, very complicated, but my pace is not so bad, so we can try to fight.”

Massimo Meregalli

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – Team Director

“We made good progress with the settings in the practice sessions and both riders are comfortable on the bike. Unfortunately, this didn‘t fully translate in this afternoon‘s Q2 results, though both our riders were fighting for the front row. Maverick gave a really good performance and only just missed out on a third place in the final stages of Q2. Vale was also a strong contender for most of the session, but couldn‘t quite set the fast lap he had in mind on his second run, because the rear tyre didn‘t perform perfectly. The free practice results show that the race pace of our riders is good, but it should be higher. We will prepare some solutions this evening for the riders to try in tomorrow‘s warm-up, when we will also decide on the tyre spec for the race.”

Zarco Thunders to 6th in Austrian GP Qualifying – Folger Ready for the Fight

Johann Zarco produced a superbly calculated ride to qualify on the second row of the grid for the Austrian Grand Prix. The French star began the day with instant speed after powering to 2nd in FP3 and he then continued the flow by completing free practice 4 in 4th. When the Q2 shootout began, Zarco tactfully delayed his start and opted to undertake one run and not pit. He built up his pace before firing over the finish line to end up only 0.258 back from the front row.


Meanwhile, Jonas Folger will begin his quest to seal a strong result in the Austrian hills from the head of the fifth row of the grid. The rapid German rider completed the practice sessions in 13th overall which confirmed his participation in Qualifying 1. Here, he determinedly pushed until the chequered flag appeared and his best lap saw him finish 3rd in the session and only 0.166 adrift of the Q2 zone. Both riders will seek to impress in the 11th round of the championship which will commence tomorrow at 14:00.

Johann Zarco

Position: 6th – Time: 1’23.879 – Laps: 8

“We have undertaken some good work and the feeling is positive at this track, plus I am happy about qualifying on the second row. However, I have to admit that I was not quite relaxed enough and I feel that it would have been possible to produce a better time. Perhaps I couldn’t have equalled Marquez’s lap but I think that I would have been able to fight with Lorenzo for 3rd, yet, I needed to be calmer to do this. That is the only shame about the qualifying, but my race pace this morning was fast and I was consistent. In FP4 we tried a different compound of tyres and it became a bit trickier, so it looks like we know where we are with this. Tomorrow, I aim to have good start and fight as soon as the lights go out because when you get into a solid position at the beginning, then you can run a better pace and have a more positive time. So the top five is my target in order to score a lot of points for the championship, but if everything goes well and I feel comfortable, I will take the chance to fight for another podium.”

Jonas Folger

Position: 13th – Time: 1’24.015 – Laps: 9

“I know that our potential was much higher than the result that we achieved today so I’m a bit disappointed. So far, we have struggled throughout the weekend and we are still slightly unsure about which direction to head towards. However, in Q1, we did an ok job and with the lap time that I set, I would have qualified in 9th in Qualifying 2 and that would have been quite positive. Anyway, the timing was not perfect and we had to analyse a lot of things which caused us to lose time. In the end, P13 is a tricky place to start from, but if I have a strong performance, which I fully intend to, then I can collect some valuable points for the championship.”

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