Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Fabio Quartararo took pole position with a new All Time Lap Record around the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve. Fortune wasn’t on Maverick Viñales’ side during the Q2 session. He will start tomorrow’s race from 12th place on the grid.
Portimao (Portugal), 17th April 2021
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Fabio Quartararo shone brightly on the second day at the Grande Prémio de Portugal, coming out on top in all three sessions. Maverick Viñales was unlucky to have three of his four flying laps cancelled in Q2 and ended the session in 12th place.

Quartararo had established himself as the man to beat today, having taken the top spot in FP3 and FP4. He showed he meant business again in Q2 by posting a 1’39.028s opening lap to take over the P1 honour again. He couldn’t improve on his provisional pole the next time round. Running wide and into the gravel in Turn 8 meant he had to quickly return to the pit for new tyres.

With six minutes remaining, he was back on track to defend his first place. He did it on his very next attempt. He clocked a 1’38.862s, a new All Time Lap Record. He had time for two more laps but didn’t better his time. In the final stages it looked like he would just miss out on pole because of a hot lap by Francesco Bagnaia. But as it was set under a yellow flag, the lap was cancelled, putting Quartararo back in first position by 0.089s.

Viñales started his Q2 bid with a solid 1’39.807s lap, slotting into fourth place. He improved to a 1’39.514s on his next flyer, but the lap was later cancelled due to a yellow flag, which made him drop back to seventh place at the time.

The Spaniard knew the pressure would be on for his second run. With more than three minutes remaining, he headed back out on a fresh set of tyres, ready to push to the fullest. He wrapped up the session with a 1’38.990s and 1’38.732s, the latter of which would have moved him up to the front row, but unfortunately the laps were cancelled. One due to a yellow flag and the other for exceeding track limits in sector 2 by the narrowest of margins. Because of this he was pushed back to 12th place and will be starting tomorrow’s race from the fourth row of the grid.
Massimo Meregalli

Massimo Meregalli

Team Director

The qualifying sessions in MotoGP are tricky because they get influenced easily by crashes, and we both profited and suffered because of it today. Fabio received pole due to a yellow flag, but more important than this is the speed and race pace he showed in FP3 and FP4. We are really looking forward to seeing how that translates in tomorrow’s race. If you look at Maverick’s lap times, he actually would have been right up there on the front row. He set two 1’38s laps, but unfortunately they got cancelled. One due to yellow flags and the other for exceeding track limits. It’s a great shame, especially because it's difficult to overtake here, so starting from the first or the fourth row makes a big difference. But he showed in the FP4 and Q2 session that the lap times are there, so he will just have to push as much as possible tomorrow for a top result. We will try to look for some last set-up improvements that we can try in Warm Up.
Fabio Quartararo

Fabio Quartararo

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Rider

It’s a pole, but it doesn’t feel like it usually does. Bagnaia was extremely fast on one lap. I’m actually happier about being in first place in FP3 and FP4 than I am about this pole position. The main goal was to start from the front row – that we achieved by our own merit, and then the pole was handed to us afterwards. The feeling is really good. It’s just a shame that I had a big shake in the last corner of the last lap. I could have improved the lap time more, but I’m happy. I know the pace that I’m capable of. This one is for my team.
Maverick Viñales

Maverick Viñales

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Rider

It’s tough to accept my last lap cancellation, because I don’t think that I was on the green. It’s not clear if I was or not, but it is what it is, we can’t do anything about it. It’s not something I want to spend too much time talking about. I’d rather focus on the good feeling I had on and off track. My last two lap times would have put me on the front row. We improved a lot compared to yesterday. I feel quite strong on the rhythm, especially on a used tyre. Braking is also feeling much better. I’m strong there too now, which is a good sign, because tomorrow we need to fight our way up from twelfth on the grid. We’ll see. Honestly, I feel really good with the bike, and this is the most important. But we need to keep thinking of a way to improve for tomorrow, because we need to deliver something special.