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Movistar Yamaha Clinch Second and Fourth Row in Challenging Cathedral Qualifying

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi gave a strong performance today at a wet TT Circuit Assen to secure fourth place on the grid for tomorrow’s Motul TT Assen race. Teammate Maverick Viñales showed a competitive pace at the start of the session but was pushed down the order and qualified in 11th place.

Assen (The Netherlands), 24th June 2017 – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team‘s Valentino Rossi displayed great form in the free practice sessions and followed it up with a strong Q2 performance. He put in some hot laps around the TT Circuit Assen, setting the fourth fastest time. Teammate Maverick Viñales was unable to ride his YZR-M1 the way he had in mind and will start tomorrow’s race from the fourth row on the grid.

After getting a good feel for the wet conditions in FP3 and FP4, Rossi was determined to drop a fast time during the 15-minute long Q2 session. He stated his case clearly when he momentarily took pole on his first flying lap, before being pushed back to fifth place. His second attempt gained him one position, but he was soon back in fifth and briefly dropped to seventh.

It was his fourth hot lap that moved him up to second and, with the pole so close, the Doctor upped the intensity. He really put the hammer down on his next try and, being moved back to third, he climbed back up to second. He had two more goes left, but he lost time as he had to avoid one of his rivals suffering a technical issue. With just one more possibility to make his mark, he once again put his head down and set a red sector in S3. He beat his own best time and posted a 1’46.705s for fourth place, 0.564s from first.

Teammate Viñales started the Q2 session as one of the first riders to leave the box, to be assured of some clear track space. He briefly took second place on his first flying lap, before being pushed back down to tenth. His second attempt improved his time but didn‘t gain him a position, and he quickly returned to the pits with a little more than seven minutes remaining.

He rejoined the track a quick minute later. The Spaniard shaved off more than a second from his fastest time thus far with a 1’48.266s, which moved him up to seventh place. He continued to look threatening over the next two laps, setting personal best sectors, but he was unable to move up the order. He will start tomorrow’s race from eleventh position on the grid.

MASSIMO MEREGALLI
TEAM DIRECTOR

Today was a very complicated day to get it right for both the riders and the mechanics. The change in conditions – and even the different conditions between track sectors – kept everyone on their toes. Valentino did a great job adapting to the different situations per session and his confidence really showed when he set a couple of fast times in Q2. It was too bad he lost some time during one of his hot laps because, had he been able to complete it without any obstacles, he could have secured a place on the first row. Maverick had a very good feeling on the bike this morning, but unfortunately the qualifying didn’t go as we expected. He couldn‘t push the way he wanted to. The team will work hard to find a solution to the problems he experienced this afternoon, so he can have a good start from the fourth row. For him the beginning of the race will be crucial and hopefully he will hit the front of the field early on. We will exploit the time in the warm up session to fine-tune the bikes for the race, regardless of the weather conditions.

VALENTINO ROSSI
1’46.705 / 8 LAPS

It‘s a shame I didn‘t get front row, but it‘s very important for the race to start from within the top-5. I‘m in fourth position and that‘s a good place and it was also a positive day because I was always competitive from this morning and I feel good with the bike. We had two practice sessions that were more or less fully wet, so we could work on the new chassis. This was very important to understand if we can be competitive, and the feeling was quite positive. Now we have to await the weather and the conditions. Here in Assen it‘s always a big surprise. We hope for either a full dry or a full wet race.

MAVERICK VIÑALES
1’48.266 / 8 LAPS

In FP3 I was feeling really good, even if the conditions were tricky. I was feeling great on the bike, but in qualifying I had no feeling and I couldn‘t push. It wasn‘t a problem with the tyres, because I think those were quite OK. I don‘t know why, but it was just my feeling and I couldn‘t push any more than I did. Starting from eleventh is difficult, especially the first few corners, so it will be important to be concentrated. I will try to make some fast overtakes and try to catch the front riders in the early stages of the race.