After a tussle with the elements in a mixed Q2 session today, Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales will be starting tomorrow's Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky from the third row.
Brno (Czech Republic), 3rd August 2019
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales had shown solid pace in the wet and the dry so far this weekend at the Automotodrom Brno, but during the mixed Q2 session they weren’t able to get in the hot lap they had in mind. Qualifying started on a drying track, but rain towards the end thwarted the Yamaha men’s plans. Rossi’s late wet tyre gamble resulted in him taking seventh place, whilst Viñales was unlucky to get caught in the rain on slicks. He will line up beside his team-mate on the third row in ninth place.

With the track conditions at first wet and later drying in the morning's FP3, no riders improved on their best time from yesterday. This allowed Rossi and Viñales to take part in Q2, as they had already secured top-10 results in the combined free practice standings in FP2.

Rossi was quick to leave the box to make the most of the 15-minute qualifying session but needed a bit of time to get familiar with the mixed track conditions. His first flying lap put him in tenth position after all riders had put in their benchmark lap. He improved on his time but not his placement before he entered pit lane for a quick stop, holding 11th place.

With about five minutes remaining, the Italian re-entered the track just when it started to spit down again - his tyre gamble of sticking to wets paid off. He moved up to tenth position on his next try as he got heat into the tyres, and had one more lap left. The Doctor set four personal best sectors to bank a 2’06.233s and secured seventh place on the grid for tomorrow’s race, 3.480s from pole.

Viñales was the second rider to start the qualifying challenge. His first two runs were on wet tyres, as he tried to get a feel for the conditions. His first hot lap, a 2’06.626s, saw him slot into fifth place when all riders had completed their initial try. As a dry line started to form, the Spaniard came in for a wet-medium rear tyre but on his out lap immediately decided to return to the pits for another tyre change.

With slightly less than four minutes remaining, the Yamaha rider went out on soft slicks for his third run. Lying in seventh place, he knew he had to push, but he was out of luck. Just when he started his attempt, spots of rain began to fall, especially in sector one and four, preventing him from climbing the rankings in the time-attack. He ended the session in ninth place, 3.873s from first.
Massimo Meregalli

Massimo Meregalli

Team Director

“We started the day well. Vale and Maverick both showed good pace in the wet FP3 and FP4, and yesterday they also felt good in the dry, so we felt positive going into Q2. However, the weather was not on our side. The track was drying in the first ten minutes of the session, but then rain started to fall, making the tyre choice a catch-22 situation and the timing critical. Ultimately, wets were the better choice towards the end of the session, so Vale managed to move up to seventh on his last lap, whilst Maverick was unlucky not to be able to improve on his benchmark time using the soft slicks combination, because it started raining again. Two riders on the third row is not the result we expected, nor does it show our true potential here in Brno. The weather is expected to be completely different tomorrow, sunny and warm, so we need to adapt to the changes as fast as we can in the Warm Up to prepare for the race. Normally, we would have completed our tyre choice by now if we had had one more dry session today. Unfortunately this wasn't the case, so we'll use tomorrow morning's track time to make our final tyre decision, keeping in mind that tyre degradation will likely play a role in the outcome of the race.”
Valentino Rossi

Valentino Rossi

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Rider

“It was a very difficult day, especially for the qualifying. We always had half-and-half conditions and we wanted to try to use the slicks at the beginning, but the conditions weren't good enough. Before my second run I saw a lot of people go out on slicks, but for me it was too wet. There was not enough time to put on slicks for us. These conditions are always difficult for us, we struggle very much, so starting from the third row is not so bad. I hope for a dry race tomorrow and also for a dry Warm Up, because we have a lot of things to try, especially to make the right tyre choice.”
Maverick Viñales

Maverick Viñales

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Rider

“The slicks didn’t work for us. I tried to go out on them, because I spotted the opportunity, but ultimately I think it was a bad decision. We should have followed our plan to go out on the medium wet tyre at the end, I think our position would have been much better, but it is what it is. You have to take the positives. It’s been a great weekend, I’m riding fast on the wet and dry, so we need to keep this positivity going for tomorrow. I start from P9, but normally I’m starting good now and I’m doing good first laps, so I need to keep going. These mixed conditions were very difficult for us. With more water on the track it was better and I was faster. I'm really confident for tomorrow, because I felt great on the soft tyre in the dry conditions on the Friday, so I think that can be a good choice for us. I don’t know about the others, but it works really well for our bike. I think tomorrow’s Warm Up will be very important to decide everything, but anyway the feeling is there, I’m in good shape, so I think I can do well.”