Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi showed great speed at the Circuito de Jerez-Ángel Nieto (Spain) in qualifying. Viñales looked like he had pole position in his grasp, but due to a fastest lap cancellation for exceeding track limits, he will start tomorrow’s race from 2nd place. Rossi made an improvement in the afternoon heat and rode a very strong second stint in Q2 to secure fourth place on the second row.
Viñales waited for most of the competition to leave pit lane before he stepped aboard his YZR-M1 and turned up the heat. His initial 1’37.217s put him solidly in P1 with a 0.314s advantage over the rest of the field. He shaved another 0.115s off his time in an effort to keep his position before making a quick stop.
With three and a half minutes left on the clock, the number-12 rider started his second run. The top spot had been taken over by fellow Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo. Viñales put up a great fight, clocking a strong 1’36.907s on his final lap, but the time was cancelled because he had exceeded track limits in Turn 7. However, his 1’37.102s lap set on 3/7 was so fast that it still earned him second place on the grid, just 0.095s from pole.
Rossi was one of the first riders to hit the track in Q2, keen on using the 15-minute qualifying session to its full extent. His first flyer put him in seventh place. He improved his time but not his ranking on his next attempt and hurried back to the box with more than seven minutes remaining.
A little more than two minutes later The Doctor was back on his way. He was in tenth place, but knew all was still to play for. He set a 1’37.560s, moving him up to provisional sixth, but it was on his final lap that the Italian really showed how much the bike had improved in the hot afternoon session. He posted a 1’37.342s that put him in fourth place in the qualifying results, 0.335s from first.