Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi pushed to the limit in today‘s close qualifying session at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and secured third and fifth place respectively on the grid for tomorrow's race. However, following a sanction imposed on Viñales by Race Direction after Q2, he will start the GP from P6, whilst Rossi moves up to P4.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi found extra speed on the second day at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. They secured third and fifth place on the grid in today's Q2 for the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya.
Viñales got straight down to business during the 15-minute session, setting a 1 minute 40.007 seconds on his first hot lap for provisional pole. He followed it up with another two fast first sectors but had to abandon his try in S3. As a result, he dropped to seventh place on returning to the pit box for a fresh set of tyres, but the Spaniard‘s challenge was far from over.
After a two-minute stop he headed back out for his second run. The timing was perfect: as most of the rider field was just heading into pit lane, he had a clear track in front of him. The home rider wasn‘t able to further improve his time on his next attempt, yet he remained determined to make his fans proud and set three red sectors on the following lap. It resulted in a 1 minute 39.710 seconds, his best of the session, to briefly take first again. But, as other riders completed their fastest efforts, he ended in third place, 0.226 second from first.
Rossi started his time attack a little after his team-mate, letting half of the other Q2 challengers exit pit lane ahead of him. He gradually got into the groove. His first hot lap put him in tenth place and his next moved him up to sixth, before the Doctor really got his head down. He improved his time but not his ranking and held sixth place as he headed to the pits with five and half minutes remaining.
Less than a minute later he was back out and didn‘t let any time go to waste. He soon set a 1 minute 39.753 seconds for fifth place. Though he had one more lap left, he was unable to top his earlier time and ended the session remaining in fifth, 0.269 second from first.
Following the Q2 session, Race Direction imposed a penalty of three grid positions on Viñales for being slow on the racing line and disturbing another rider. Viñales will start tomorrow's race from P6, whilst Rossi moves up to P4.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP's Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales were in the hunt for glory at the start of the 24-lap Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya. They were looking for a way through in the top-5 front group when they both became collateral damage in a racing incident.
The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team were unlucky to see Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales retire out of a promising fifth and third place respectively at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya due to a multiple rider collision. The team-mates were uninjured, but the incident ended their Catalunya challenge with a double NC result.
Rossi started from fourth on the grid and found himself in fifth place through the first corners, before getting into a battle with Jorge Lorenzo and Danilo Petrucci. He was briefly in seventh position, but the Italian is known for not going down without a fight. He was back up to fifth a little more than halfway through the second lap, when disaster struck in Turn 10.
The Doctor reacted quickly in an effort to avoid a multiple-rider incident, but he was still clipped by the sliding bike of a rival, causing him to crash. He rode his bike back to the team garage but was forced to retire from the race.
Following yesterday‘s Race Direction penalty, Viñales had to start from P6. He had already mentioned he would use the setback as extra motivation, and he did exactly that. The home hero had a brilliant launch, arriving at the first corner in sixth place but cunningly moved up to fourth as he flicked his bike left and right in Turn 2 and 3.
He rode an aggressive opening lap to cross the finish line the first time in second place but had to let Marc Marquez pass at the start of lap 2. The Yamaha rider was looking to retaliate, but his race ended prematurely when he was taken out by one of the bikes involved in a collision of two other riders in Turn 10.
Today's unlucky double NC result means Rossi stays in fifth position in the championship standings with a 68-point gap to first, whereas Viñales moves down from eighth to eleventh in the rankings, with a 100-point margin to the top. Yamaha is now third in the constructor standings, gaining a place, whilst Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP drops one position to fourth in the team classification.
The team will be back at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya tomorrow for a one-day IRTA test, preparing for the Motul TT Assen round that will be held in the Netherlands in two weeks‘ time.
"It's a very disappointing and difficult-to-accept end to an otherwise good weekend for our team. It's especially cruel because there was nothing Vale and Maverick could have done to avoid it, and we were quite confident that we would be able to get a good result here today. We definitely started the race with a completely different aim than the outcome we got. It's very unfortunate, but Grand Prix racing isn't always fair. All we can do is look at the positives. Both our riders were in the mix to fight for a podium. It shows we are on the way up again, so we are really looking forward to the next round in Assen. Tomorrow we will try some upgrades during the IRTA test, focused mainly on improving the smoothness in acceleration."
"This is a great shame, because we did a good weekend. We worked well during the practice sessions and we also made a good tyre choice. I felt really comfortable on the bike and I had a good pace already this morning, but it looked like this afternoon it was even better. I was very optimistic, but unfortunately in that corner I tried to overtake Petrucci and I already arrived a bit fast. At the same moment the crash in front of me happened, so I couldn't avoid the bike of Jorge and I crashed. It's a great shame, because I could have done a good race. I felt strong. On the positive side, it was a better weekend, compared to Mugello. I was competitive and enjoyed it a lot more, so we will start again from this point."
"Actually, I saw someone coming very fast on the inside, and I tried to pick up the bike to avoid a crash. Dovi was in front of me and I thought that just they were going to crash, but unfortunately they touched my rear tyre and I jumped. I couldn't avoid it and I'm really disappointed, but on the other hand I'm really happy. We've made a good start and did some good first laps. We had prepared the bike really well with the full fuel tank, so the method we've tried this weekend is not so bad, it's working. We're going to try to reproduce our work in Assen and see if we get the same result, because we saw on the first lap that I was able to get to the front and push, and that was the most important for me. Who knows what would have happened if I could have followed Marc? But the bike was working well and the team was doing an excellent job this weekend, so we need to keep working like this."