The track was returned to the 2016 Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya race layout, so only the FP3 results would determine which riders would secure a place in Q2. As the Factory Yamaha teammates finished outside the top10 in the morning free practice session, they had to take part in Q1.
Viñales had a relatively easy pass through Q1 to promote to Q2. He was out of the box early, ahead of the field, and immediately moved up to second on his first flying lap. He returned to the box with six and a half minutes remaining.
When the Spaniard resumed his attack, he was still sitting in second position and set a 1’44.934s, improving his time if not his place, but the lap was fast enough for him to hold onto a place in Q2 until the end of the session.
The home rider didn’t waste a minute at the start of the second session to get a flying lap in and shortly held second place, before being pushed back to fourth as the riders behind him crossed the line. Unable to better his time on the next two tries, he rode into pit lane with less than seven minutes to go.
A minute later, Vinales headed back out on track for another go. He found himself in eighth place, but was ready to fight back with a personal best lap, taking fifth. Two minutes then remained to advance his position, but he had to settle for ninth, on the third row on the grid, with a best time of 1’44.620s.
In Q1, Rossi waited for the first group of riders to get out on track before he left pit lane and took fifth place on his second flying lap. He quickly returned to the pits with less than six minutes on the clock for a tyre swap.
The Italian was eager to improve on his second stint, though he had only four minutes left to put in two more laps. He was pushed back to seventh as the pace quickened, but soon moved up to fourth on his next attempt. He had time for one more go and was looking threatening, only to miss out on an entry into Q2 when he bettered his placement in the rankings to third with a 1’44.661s. He will start tomorrow’s race from the fifth row on the grid.