After a brilliant FP3 from Rossi, during which he advanced straight into Q2, the Italian was eager to continue making strides in the afternoon qualifying session. He was one of the first riders out of the pit box and left a competitive impression as his first try initially lifted him to fifth place. He was quick to better his time on his next flying lap, but it didn?t improve his ranking.
Unable to significantly climb the ranks also on his next three attempts, the Doctor decided it was time to change tactics. He returned to the pit box with less than four minutes to go for a tyre swap, opting for the soft front / medium rear combination. A quick minute later he headed back out for his second run and his tyre choice proved to be the right decision for the drying track conditions. He had time for one lap and stepped up his pace on his final try. He set a 1’28.669s to claim ninth position on the grid, 1.367s from first.
Teammate Viñales displayed his confidence in today?s dry morning free practice session but struggled to reproduce the results in the afternoon in the wet Q2 session. He went straight into action as soon as the green light signalled the start of the 15-minute time attack and slotted into fourth place. He improved his time but not his position on his next lap and was looking to keep the momentum going, but lost valuable seconds as he got involved in a small collision with Marc Marquez.
Despite the incident, the Yamaha rider tried to quickly get back into a good rhythm and, though he continued to struggle to get a feel for the wet conditions, he dug deep and climbed back up from twelfth to ninth, dipping under the 1’29 mark with a 1’28.823s. He had three more attempts at beating his personal best time, but was unable to improve and ended the day in 11th place, 1.521s from the front.