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Quartararo and Vinales Secure P3 and P9 in Styrian GP Qualifying

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Fabio Quartararo was a strong contender for pole in this afternoon‘s Q2 session. Though his fastest time was cancelled due to exceeding track limits, he still secured third place on the grid for the ninth time out of ten GPs so far this season. Maverick Viñales had a fierce start to Q2 but ultimately took ninth place on tomorrow‘s grid.

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Viñales went all out in this afternoon‘s Q2 session at the Spielberg circuit. Quartararo gave his utmost in the 15-minute shoot-out and secured third place on the first row of the grid. Viñales also impressed with his speed at the start of Q2, when he briefly held first place, but later struggled to put in a competitive bid for pole. He found some extra time in the final moments and will start tomorrow‘s race from ninth.

Quartararo was on the mark right from the word ’Go‘. Though he had waited for a while to let his fellow Q2 contestants go out ahead of him, the Frenchman soon made his presence known with a 1‘23.259s benchmark lap that was 0.643s faster than the rest of the field. He went on to improve it to a 1‘23.075s, before entering pit lane with seven minutes on the clock.

Having been pushed back to second whilst in the pits, El Diablo was keen to reclaim the number one spot and was quickly back on his way with a fresh set of tyres. It briefly looked like he would claim his sixth pole position of 2021 when he dropped a 1‘22.958s. It would have been a new All Time Lap Record at the Spielberg circuit, but it was later cancelled due to exceeding track limits in Turn 9. His 1‘23.075s set on lap 3/8 put the number-20 rider in third place in the results, 0.081s from first, allowing him to start from the front row for the ninth time out of ten races so far this season.

Viñales was following a similar strategy as his teammate and waited at the start of Q2 for most of his rivals to clear off before he stepped aboard his M1 to set a hot lap. His benchmark time looked promising. He posted a 1‘23.902 for provisional first place, but soon his teammate took over at the top of the standings. The Spaniard made a further time improvement on his next try, but he still dropped back to fifth place before he returned to the box with a little more than eight minutes remaining.

Top Gun headed back out on track with nearly five minutes still to go. He was eager to breach the 0.604s gap to first but wasn‘t able to reproduce the feeling he had on the start of the first run until his very last lap. He wrapped up the session with a 1‘23.508s for ninth place, 0.514s from pole, putting him on the third row of the starting grid for tomorrow‘s Styrian GP.   Image Gallery  
Starting from third and ninth on the grid is pretty good, considering this is a track that isn‘t our best on the calendar. Fabio was so close to snatching pole. It‘s a shame he exceeded track limits, but clearly he has great speed. We had hoped to have Maverick a bit further towards the front of the grid, but third row is still okay. Overall, today was a very productive day for us. We got a lot of work done in FP3, but we are the most pleased with the long runs we did with both riders during the FP4 session. Our race pace is really promising. However, this is in dry conditions… It seems pretty likely that we will experience some very different circumstances tomorrow, so this will make the race very interesting. One thing is for sure, we will have to be prepared for all possible scenarios and the race preparations done in Warm Up will be absolutely crucial.
This is still an important front row, but it‘s such a shame that my best lap got cancelled. On that lap I saw that Bagnaia was first, and I pushed myself to the limit. I said, ’Ok, I already have a lap time that is good‘ and I pushed so much in Turn 4 that I lost the front. It was quite heavy, but I said, ’I‘m going to push until the end‘. Then I went over the track limits. I was actually expecting to be 0.3s or 0.4s slower than that 1‘22.9s. When I saw the 1‘22.9s lap I said ’No way!‘. Unfortunately, that lap was then cancelled, but I lost more time going onto the green than I would have done had I stayed on the curbs. It‘s a shame, but it was already good to see the 1‘22.9s on the dashboard screen of my Yamaha. I have no idea what to expect for tomorrow. If it’s dry of course I feel strong to fight for the podium, and if it’s wet we will have a new adventure on the Sunday. I’m feeling good on the bike. We will find something tomorrow and I’m praying for the sun to come out for the race.
I was expecting much more from today’s qualifying session because the feeling this morning was really good. I could make 1’23.7s on race rhythm, which is fast. I was very happy in that moment. For sure, I’m a bit frustrated because, if not pole, I thought I would be on the front row. I think this was a realistic possibility. But it didn’t turn out that way. We need to accept it, and tomorrow we need to make a good start and push. But even more than the first lap, having the chance to overtake is crucial. If I can do that, I think we are going to go forward, because the bike is on a good level.
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