Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi had to ride on the limit during today's Q2 session at the Chang International Circuit. Viñales opted for a two-stop strategy and took second position on the grid for the PTT Thailand Grand Prix. Rossi suffered a small crash on his first run, which lost him some time. He ultimately qualified in ninth place.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi were both pushing 100 per cent today during Q2 at the Chang International Circuit, but it resulted in different outcomes. Maverick Viñales used a two-stop tactic to secure a spot on the front row for the PTT Thailand Grand Prix. Rossi was unlucky to have his bike wash out from under him on his first run. He had to make his way back to the box to switch to his second bike and ended up on the third row.
Viñales showed his hand right from the start of his pole challenge. He positioned his Yamaha firmly at the front on his first flying lap with a 1‘30.332s but was later pushed back to second as rivals completed their second hot lap.
Meanwhile the Spaniard returned to the pits with nine and a half minutes left. Not wanting to waste any time he leapt from his first to his second bike and was soon back out on track. He was pushing to the limit on his second run, setting a 1 minute 30.190 seconds, but remained in third place. He had another go and improved his time once more to a 1 minute 30.096 seconds, but it still wasn‘t enough.
With three minutes left, the number-12 rider made a second quick stop. Back on bike one, he had just enough time for one final try. He fully committed to putting his head down, dug deep, and dropped under the 1‘30s-mark, posting a 1 minute 29.825 seconds which earned him second place on the grid, 0.106s from pole.
Rossi made a good start to the 15-minute Q2 session. He set a 1 minute 31.080 seconds on his opening lap, putting him in fifth place initially, before he was pushed back to ninth. He set a personal best sector on his next attempt, but the bike washed out from under him in Turn 5.
Having to leave his preferred M1 behind, the Doctor hurried back to the pit box to return to the track on his second machine. With a little less than four minutes on the clock, the Italian was back on route. Getting into the groove again, he bettered his time to a 1 minute 31.019 seconds but remained in tenth place and resumed the setting of personal best sectors. He clocked a 1 minute 30.741 seconds on his penultimate lap, moving him up to ninth. Unable to further improve his time on his last effort, he kept his spot on the third row, 1.022 from first.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales returned to podium form once more in today's PTT Thailand Grand Prix, taking third. Valentino Rossi was on the move in the opening laps of the 26-lap race but fell back two positions and finished in eighth.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales secured third place on the podium, his sixth podium and fourth bronze trophy of the season. Rossi was strong in the early stages of the race but couldn't maintain his opening pace and finished in eighth place.
Viñales had a good start from second but had to hand over a position to Marc Marquez before Turn 1. The pace was relentless at the front of the field. The two riders ahead of the Factory Yamaha man consistently set times in the low 1 minute 31 seconds. The Spaniard was pushing on every lap but was unable to stay in touch with the leaders, due to a lack of traction.
After seven laps, the gap to second had grown to over two seconds, but the number-12 rider wasn't giving up. With the over 1.5 second margin to the rival in fourth growing to nearly 10 seconds, it was a lonely ride for Viñales, but he kept pushing all the way through. He finished in third place, having decreased the gap to the front to 1.380 second.
Rossi briefly fell back from ninth to tenth position in the first sector of lap 1, but he made the most of the Yamaha's nimble character in the remaining three sectors and cut through the pack to seventh place. With 22 laps remaining, he also put in a move on Joan Mir. Though the Doctor's foot slipped off the foot peg in the process, he saved the moment and still managed to defend his newly conquered sixth place.
Then with 16 laps to go, the Italian experienced a severe loss of rear grip, costing him two hard-earned positions. Unable to keep up his early pace, Rossi did everything he could to defend his eighth place for the remainder of the race. He successfully held on, crossing the line 19.162 seconds from first.
Today's third place sees Viñales move up to fourth in the championship standings, two places ahead of Rossi, with 18 points between them. Yamaha remains third in the constructor standings, and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP also stay in third place in the team classification.
Yamaha extend their congratulations to Marc Marquez of the Repsol Honda Team for taking the 2019 MotoGP World Championship.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP will be back in action at the Twin Ring Motegi in two weeks‘ time for the Motul Grand Prix of Japan, held from 18th - 20th October.