Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales withstood the heat of a sizzling Q2 session in Aragon, securing third place on the front row. Valentino Rossi made a big step on his second run, taking sixth place on the second row for tomorrow's Gran Premio Michelin de Aragón.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales had to go all out in a sunny qualifying session at the MotorLand Aragón to secure himself a second consecutive front-row start. Valentino Rossi was unable to climb up the order on his first Q2 run but turned it all around on his second outing, securing sixth place on the second row of the grid.
Viñales had been consistently strong in all free practice sessions and was keen on putting his speed to the test in Q2. He let most of the riders exit pit lane before he stepped aboard his YZR-M1 to set a flying lap, and posted a 1 minute 48.159 seconds for provisional pole. Knowing the times would drop, the Spaniard kept pushing. He improved his time but found himself in fourth place as he headed back to the pit box for fresh tyres.
With about four minutes remaining, the local hero was back on track. It was not before long that the number-12 rider was setting personal best sectors to take over second place with a 1 minute 47.472 seconds. Unable to get another fast lap in, he ended the session in third place, 0.463 second from pole.
Rossi was on the same strategy as his team-mate. With clear space ahead of him on track he got into time-attack mode immediately. He stuck his Yamaha in sixth place on his first try, but the level of the session kept rising. The Italian improved his time on his next lap but was down to tenth place as he ended his first run.
With six minutes left on the clock, the Doctor pulled up to the pit garage for a quick stop before commencing his second run. Pushing 100 per cent, he was flashing all orange sectors on his next attempt, producing a 1 minute 48.015 seconds. It was his last fast lap and it briefly moved him up to fifth. He ultimately finished in sixth place, 1.006 seconds from first.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales put up a brave fight in today‘s Gran Premio Michelin de Aragón but came just short in maintaining his bid for the podium, finishing the race in fourth place. Valentino Rossi struggled to maintain the 1 minute 49 seconds pace of the riders in front and ended in eighth place.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales made the absolute most of his Yamaha‘s nimble character in the first three sectors of the MotorLand Aragón, but he couldn't keep late chasing rivals at bay, finishing the race just off the podium in fourth place. Valentino Rossi was unable to mix in with the competitors in front. He rode a lonely race, taking eighth place.
Viñales lost just one position, from third to fourth, as he turned into the first tight left corner. He was stalking fellow Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo, knowing he could lap faster than him he was trying to figure out where to make his move. Once he did on lap 5, he was quick to put the pressure on Jack Miller next.
The local hero was pushing to the limit. With 16 laps to go he made a very brave move around the outside of Miller and then pulled away through Turn 10 and 11. Lying in second place with an over 4s gap to the front, Viñales mostly focused on maintaining the margin over the group of five riders behind him. Ultimately only Andrea Dovizioso and Miller were able to keep up. The number-12 rider did everything to fend off the chasing rivals but was unable to do so, finishing the race in fourth place 5.811s from first.
Rossi had a good start from sixth on the grid, maintaining his position, but was struggling to cut through the pack in the first few laps. He lost a place to both Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow and was unable to stay in the 1 minute 49 seconds after lap 7 due to rear tyre degradation. It soon resulted in a lonely ride for the Doctor, with a 6 seconds-gap to ninth and a growing gap to seventh.
Though the Italian didn‘t find a good rhythm in the latter stages of the race around the Aragon track, he put in a brave ride. Rossi maintained his eighth place as he brought his bike across the finish line. He took the chequered flag with a 23.623 seconds gap to the front.
Today's fourth place sees Viñales stay fifth in the championship standings, one place ahead of Rossi, with ten points between them. Yamaha remains third in the constructor standings, and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP also stay in third place in the team classification.
Viñales and Rossi next travel to the Chang International Circuit for the PTT Thailand Grand Prix, held from 4th-6th October.
“It was an unexpectedly difficult race for us. Maverick and Vale suffered from rear tyre degradation. Valentino already at the beginning and Maverick later on, and in the latter's case it cost him a podium. Losing a place on the rostrum on the last lap is of course very disappointing. During the practice sessions we never faced these tyre-drop problems, because the time we had didn't allow us to do a long run. We don't know if the change was due to the rain that fell yesterday, but anyway it is what it is. It is difficult to accept these results, because we were strong in all the sessions, so finishing off the podium isn't in line with what we were expecting. Still, compared to last year, our performance over the weekend shows that we are consistently improving, but that said, we still have work to do.”
“I knew second place was possible today, so I pushed and pushed and pushed, but finally, in the last two laps, the tyre was very much on the limit. I tried my best. I nearly crashed two or three times because of the rear and thought ’OK, today I have to be fourth, that‘s the maximum‘. I‘m actually happy that I was very strong in the middle of the race. At the end I didn‘t have enough grip on the tyres to keep going, but I‘m once again the first Yamaha, which is important to us. I tried to close the door everywhere to Dovi, but in the end it was impossible, on the straight I stood no chance.”
“I knew yesterday it would be difficult to fight for the podium because three or four guys were faster than me, but today was worse because after some laps I had to slow down. I didn‘t have grip and I had some kind of problem with the tyres, it happened a little like it did in Silverstone. To me, it‘s not a problem of the tyres, it‘s our problem. We always struggle with the grip on the rear, and because of this lack of grip we also damage the tyre more, so in the end it was a very difficult race. It looks like everybody on the hard rear tyre had some problems, also the other Yamahas, but more towards the end. I started having problems earlier on. But I don‘t know if we could have done better on the soft, because during the practice the soft wasn‘t very good for our bike.”