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3rd and 4th Row for Movistar Yamaha after Tough Termas de Rio Hondo Qualifying


Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi qualified in 9th and 11th position on the grid for tomorrow’s Gran Premio de la República Argentina.

Viñales didn’t waste any time to commence the 15-minute shoot-out. He was fast to leave the team’s pit box as he had planned on making a firm challenge for the front rows. However, it soon became clear that the mixed track conditions caused him to struggle to find grip, putting a damper on his time-attack efforts.

Opting for staying out on wet tyres throughout Q2, the Spaniard completed eight laps in total. His best time was set on his very last try, when he posted a 1’49.044s for ninth place, 1.891s from first.

Rossi also quickly headed out of pit lane at the start of the qualifying session, hoping to find clear space on track. However, the nine-time World Champion had the same non-stop strategy as his teammate and shared a similar experience, as he was unable to find a good feeling.

The treacherous conditions caused the Italian rider to run wide when he was on route for a hot lap, which led him to lose time and he got pushed back to twelfth place. But, not one to be defeated easily, he responded by picking up one place on his final attempt. He set a 1’49.326s for 11th position, 2.173s from the front.

Today’s qualifying results will see Viñales and Rossi start tomorrow’s race from the third and fourth row of the grid. Tomorrow the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP teammates will continue the action at 10:40 – 11:00 (local track time, GMT-3) in the morning warm-up session, followed by the race at 15:00.

Maverick Viñales
Position: 9th – Time: 1’49.044 – Laps: 8

“Today was difficult. We always suffer in the wet and at the moment we are not on the same level as our main rivals. We have to keep working on the bike’s set-up and keep improving in the wet. We have work to do during this season, in order to be strong – but I know we can improve a lot, so we will just continue to work on improving the grip level, to be more competitive, and we’ll see tomorrow. We’ll hope for a dry race, that would suit us much better.”

Valentino Rossi
Position: 11th – Time: 1’49.326 – Laps: 8

“It was a difficult day for me, because in these conditions – when you have to go out on the wet tyre, but the asphalt is becoming dry – I’m in a lot of trouble. I can’t push, because every time I try to push more I feel the front close. At the end of the qualifying I tried to do a smooth lap, I was able to improve my time, but anyway it was not enough to be with the top guys. We have to work, but especially we have to hope that tomorrow will be full dry or full wet, because then I feel quite comfortable, but in these half-and-half conditions it will be very difficult. My preference is full dry, for sure, because for me with the full dry I have a good pace to make a good race.”

Massimo Meregalli
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – Team Director

“Today’s conditions were challenging, though the rain was not unexpected. It was important for the team to use the FP3 and FP4 sessions to try out some further set-up changes in the wet. Unfortunately, the track conditions were quite mixed, making the tyre choice a gamble as parts of the track were dry, others were completely wet, and some corners had damp patches. For this reason neither of our riders felt good on the bike and both experienced the same issues they encountered before. Maverick and Valentino qualified on the third and fourth row respectively. For sure, we still have work to do, especially under these circumstances. We expect tomorrow to be dry but, regardless of the weather, it will be a hard race. We aim to make another step in the warm-up tomorrow morning.”

Fabulous Front Row Start for Zarco – Syahrin Prepared to Launch Argentinean Attack

Monster Yamaha Tech3 star Johann Zarco displayed a tactically impressive qualifying performance today in Termas de Río Hondo. With a perfectly timed fast lap towards the end of the second qualifying the Frenchman, who was the best Yamaha rider again today, played his cards excellently on rain tyres to secure the third position and with it his sixth front row start in succession.

Meanwhile, Hafizh Syahrin did well during FP3 and quickly found himself on ease, although the premier class rookie was struggling in Q1, finding it hard to judge the grip level on the half wet and half dry tarmac. The Malaysian will have to tackle the Gran Premio Motul de la República Argentina from the eighth row of the grid when the red lights go out tomorrow at 15:00 local time for the second race in 2018.

Johann Zarco
Position: 3rd – Time: 1’47.365 – Laps: 7

“I had the two bikes ready for the time attack, one with slicks and one with rain tyres. I saw the guys going out with slicks, but corner seven and eight were just too wet, so it was complicated. I tried to wait and see the sectors how Jack (Miller) was going and I had to decide quickly before it was too late. I chose the rain tyres, because I knew I felt more comfortable, even if it’s drying out. I was pushing a lot, it’s a good place. I didn’t think it was possible for me to do the same on slicks like Jack did. I’m happy. It’s another opportunity to start well tomorrow and even with the difficult conditions during the sessions, I hope we have enough information to prepare the warm up and be ready for the race.”

Hafizh Syahrin
Position: 23rd – Time: 1’51.142 – Laps: 8

“For me it’s quite hard to adapt myself on the big machine in this kind of conditions. This morning I had a very good pace and a great feeling with the bike, but we tried to change some small things to improve, but finally, my sensation for the grip was not as positive as before. I tried hard to lower my lap time, but I was missing the right feeling. The race tomorrow is for sure not going to be easy, nevertheless I’ll give my best to try to end up as the best rookie.”

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