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Movistar Yamaha Search for Grip in Catalan Qualifying

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales will be starting tomorrow‘s Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya from ninth place on the grid after battling his way through Q1 to enter Q2. Teammate Valentino Rossi lines up in 13th for the seventh round of the MotoGP season held at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

GRAND PRIX OF CATALUNYA
Montmeló, Spain – 11th June 2017

QUALIFYING

Montmeló (Spain), 10th June 2017 – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales fought hard today in the first qualifying session at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya to secure a place in the top2 and gain promotion to the top12 shoot out for pole position. He finished in ninth place in the final qualifying results. Teammate Valentino Rossi came just short to proceed to Q2 and will start tomorrow’s Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya from 13th on the grid.

The track was returned to the 2016 Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya race layout, so only the FP3 results would determine which riders would secure a place in Q2. As the Factory Yamaha teammates finished outside the top10 in the morning free practice session, they had to take part in Q1.

Viñales had a relatively easy pass through Q1 to promote to Q2. He was out of the box early, ahead of the field, and immediately moved up to second on his first flying lap. He returned to the box with six and a half minutes remaining.

When the Spaniard resumed his attack, he was still sitting in second position and set a 1’44.934s, improving his time if not his place, but the lap was fast enough for him to hold onto a place in Q2 until the end of the session.

The home rider didn’t waste a minute at the start of the second session to get a flying lap in and shortly held second place, before being pushed back to fourth as the riders behind him crossed the line. Unable to better his time on the next two tries, he rode into pit lane with less than seven minutes to go.

A minute later, Vinales headed back out on track for another go. He found himself in eighth place, but was ready to fight back with a personal best lap, taking fifth. Two minutes then remained to advance his position, but he had to settle for ninth, on the third row on the grid, with a best time of 1’44.620s.

In Q1, Rossi waited for the first group of riders to get out on track before he left pit lane and took fifth place on his second flying lap. He quickly returned to the pits with less than six minutes on the clock for a tyre swap.

The Italian was eager to improve on his second stint, though he had only four minutes left to put in two more laps. He was pushed back to seventh as the pace quickened, but soon moved up to fourth on his next attempt. He had time for one more go and was looking threatening, only to miss out on an entry into Q2 when he bettered his placement in the rankings to third with a 1’44.661s. He will start tomorrow’s race from the fifth row on the grid.

MASSIMO MEREGALLI
TEAM DIRECTOR

We tried different settings and various tyre options with both Maverick’s and Valentino’s bike during FP3 and FP4, but none of the options gave us the expected improvement. With this in mind, Maverick‘s achievement of coming through Q1 shows how hard he‘s pushing. Valentino put in a couple of strong laps towards the end of the first qualifying session, but unfortunately he just missed out on Q2 by 0.040s and will be starting from 13th place. We still have a lot of work to do for tomorrow, we will be working hard this evening to come up with solutions that we can test in the warm up, which will be crucial to prepare for the race.

MAVERICK VIÑALES
1’44.620 (Q2) / 8 LAPS

Compared to yesterday we improved the bike a little bit, but for us the problem isn‘t the bike, but rather a combination of factors. I‘ve tried many set-ups today and nothing was working, not even our basic set-up. I was just going to try to do my best and that‘s what I did. I aim to make a good start tomorrow and then I will try my best again.

VALENTINO ROSSI
1’44.661 (Q1) / 7 LAPS

We had some good ideas for today, so I expected to be more competitive, but it‘s a little bit like the situation in Jerez, with a lack of grip we suffer a lot with the tyres and the qualifying was bad. I was also unlucky I lost the entry into Q2 by just one position, so for sure it‘s difficult because the pace is not fantastic. It will be a hard race for everybody because the tyres seem to struggle to produce grip, especially in the hot conditions it will be hard, but we will try something else tomorrow morning and we‘ll see.