Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi will commence tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Styria from 5th and 14th on the grid.
Spielberg (Austria), 22nd August 2020
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi went all out in this afternoon’s qualifying sessions. Viñales gave his utmost in Q2 and secured a place on the second row of the grid. Rossi was on a hot lap in the final stages of Q1, aiming to promote to Q2, but a crash in the last sector ended his challenge, leaving him on the fifth row.

Viñales was the first rider out on track in Q2, showing his eagerness to get onto the front row for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Styria. His first flying lap put him in eighth, but that was just him gearing up for his second try, resulting in a 1’24.217s. It briefly earned him P1 but later was cancelled due to exceeding track limits. His next attempt, a 1’23.880s, had him hold fourth position before he headed to the pits with seven and a half minutes remaining.

Three minutes later he revved up his YZR-M1 once more. He was unable to improve on his next two laps but crossed the start-finish line just before the chequered flag came out. He was in tenth position and had one last chance to move up the order. He pushed, setting a personal best sector, followed by a red sector and two personal best sectors to earn sixth place with a 1’23.778s, 0.198s from pole. However, as Johann Zarco has to start tomorrow's race from pit lane as a penalty handed out by the FIM MotoGP Stewards Panel for irresponsible riding in last week's race, Viñales moves up to fifth place on the grid.

Rossi was one of the last riders to leave pit lane in Q1 to avoid being followed whilst setting a flying lap. His first attempt put him in third place. Unable to improve on the next hot lap, he dropped back to eighth, but The Doctor was just preparing for another personal best. A 1’24.327s put him in fourth.

The Italian then went back to the box for a fresh rear tyre. He was 0.162s off a place in Q2 and up for the challenge, with more than 5 minutes left on the clock. He set a 1’24.127s for provisional P1, but it didn’t last long. The number-46 rider was pushed back to fourth as rivals also put in their best efforts. He was on a good lap in his final try, setting two red and one orange sector, but his time attack came to an end in Turn 9. He crashed but was able to walk away uninjured. He ended the session in fifth place, which means he will start the race from P14 on the grid, as Zarco will be starting from pit lane.
Massimo Meregalli

Massimo Meregalli

Team Director

Today didn’t play out the way we hoped. Maverick was aiming for a front row start. He came just 0.146s short of this goal, but he will still start from the second row. With Zarco starting from pit lane, Maverick will start from P5 on the grid, which is beneficial because this is a better line. It was a shame that Valentino crashed on his last hot lap in Q1, especially because he was on course to maybe join the Q2 session. Luckily, he walked away unhurt, but the race will be challenging for him, because he has to start from further down the grid than we wanted. Anyway, we are quite satisfied with the race pace that both our riders showed in FP3 and FP4. As always, we will try to prepare something for tomorrow's Warm Up. It looks like it will be dry, but the weather is always difficult to predict here, so we will have a plan in place for any scenario.
Maverick Viñales

Maverick Viñales

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Rider

The second row on the grid is good. Considering the track condition and the level of our rivals, it's not bad, I'm quite happy. But, anyway, tomorrow will be a tough race because most of the riders have the same rhythm. We need to overtake at the beginning and try to understand where we're faster. I feel really good on the bike. This weekend we're using a very different set-up, trying to understand if this is better for the race, but we won't know for sure until tomorrow. We will try it and see. It's good to try something different at this second GP in Austria, because we can easily compare the data and see if we're heading in the right direction or not.
Valentino Rossi

Valentino Rossi

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Rider

Unfortunately I made a mistake in Turn 9. I think I touched the white line, and it wasn't clean because of Masia's incident with the oil in the Moto3 class, so I lost the front. I also made a mistake this morning whilst on a good lap, and had to go to Q1. In that session it's very difficult, because everybody pushes a lot and the lap times are similar to Q2, so it's not easy. Starting from 14th on the grid will be hard, but my race pace is not so bad, I'm quite fast and consistent. I think there are four or five riders that are faster, but we are up there with the others. This is not our best track, it's difficult here with the Yamaha, but the pace is not so bad, I'm quite strong. The race is long. We have to do everything well, trying the maximum from the beginning of the race.